Norwich alumni honored at Sharon rest area Vietnam Memorial

Sharon rest area on I-89On August 20th, Vermont officials held a grand opening for the newly reconstructed Sharon rest area on Interstate 89. The $6.3 million facility features a Vermont Vietnam Veterans' memorial, which includes a plaque honoring the 22 Norwich University alumni who gave their lives in the conflict.

What is believed to be the first state-sanctioned Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in the nation was originally dedicated on October 30, 1982, at the northbound rest area on Interstate 89 -- the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Highway -- in Sharon.

In 2000, Vermont Governor Howard Dean announced that the rest area was scheduled to be rebuilt to serve as a state welcome center with a veteran's theme, with the Vietnam Memorial as the centerpiece of the facility.

After years of planning and construction, the facility was completed this summer. The new building includes an octagonal visitors' center, a "dramatic" new setting for an existing granite monument honoring the 138 Vermonters killed in Vietnam, and an indoor display of Vietnam-related materials. An innovative, "living technologies" greenhouse, attached to the visitors' center, will process wastewater on-site.

Former Norwich University president and Vietnam veteran General W. Russell Todd, USA (Ret.) joined Vermont governor James Douglas, Vermont officials, and veterans' representatives to dedicate the new rest stop. During his 32-years of active duty, General Todd saw action as a tank platoon leader in Korea and as the commander of the 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam. General Todd served as the president of Norwich University from 1982-1992.

The Norwich University plaque at the rest area is dedicated to the memory of the more than a 1,000 Norwich alumni who served in Vietnam, and the following 22 Norwich men who gave their lives in service to their country:

  • Richard W. Ellison '43
  • Ralph W. Caspole '56
  • Stephen R. Porcella '57
  • Charles E. Sauer '58
  • Paul D. Barthiaume '59
  • John H. Joyce '59
  • Lawrence D. Woods '59
  • Walter N. Levy '63
  • Frank A. D’Amico '64
  • Freeman A. Carr '64
  • David K. Hight '64
  • Arthur E. Wright III '64
  • Richard P. Rand '65
  • Stephen D. Carr '66
  • John Godfrey '66
  • John A. Jablonski ' 66
  • John P. Lyon '66
  • Frederick S. Sherwin '66
  • Philip C. Benn '67
  • Vernon F. Hovey III '68
  • Joseph A. Silva '68
  • Richard J. Gray '69