Portland, Tennessee is a long way from Vietnam, but reminders of the sacrifice it’s sons made in the fight for America’s freedom comes home to the intersection of Highway 109 and 52.
“I just want those people to see it, maybe raise their patriotism and raise their feelings about veterans,” said Ronnie Monday, a Vietnam War veteran.
37 American flags and wooden crosses line the corner of Portland’s busiest intersection.
“Each cross represents a man from Portland who died for their freedom,” said Monday.
Raymond Earl Wright was Monday’s Portland High School classmate and the first soldier honored 12 years ago.
“Raymond was drafted just like most of the rest of us when we graduated in 1965 and 66. There was three from Portland that got killed in Vietnam,” said the war veteran.
Portland sons served in the Army, Marines, and Air Force. The last flag and cross added was for Joey Link, who died in the Iraq War in 2007.
“They had his funeral here in Portland. We had a fly over by the Air Force. He was buried in a small cemetery just southeast of town,” said Monday.
Monday hopes he doesn’t add more crosses to the memorial and said he prays for the young men and women still fighting for America.
“We just need to think about them and pray that they be safe, and if they can’t be safe, then we need to pray for their families, because they have given everything so we can be free.”