Louisville veteran determined to honor brothers in arms


by Andy Treinen


Posted on July 14, 2014 at 7:11 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 15 at 8:24 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – It’s been 8 months since WHAS11 first met Jim Lundgard, a highly motivated ex-military man with marching orders from his conscience to find Louisville’s lost Vietnam memorial.

“I wrote every politician known to man and I really didn’t get a response from everybody until I contacted you and then the ball started to roll,” Lundgard said.

Lundgard first contacted the WHAS11 I-Team last October after he realized the flag above the Vietnam War Memorial on the Belvedere no longer flew. In fact, the entire memorial was gone.

After the interview, the original flag pole from the old memorial was located in city storage but the location of the plaque is still a mystery.

Lundgard helped to organize a dedication ceremony in 1983. He told WHAS11 News he wouldn’t be satisfied until another flag flies honoring the brave men who fought along his side in Vietnam.

The new Vietnam War Memorial will be placed at Waterfront Park in front of the Big Four Bridge where thousands of people will see it daily.

The dedication for Vietnam veterans and their families will be November 11, Veteran’s Day 2014.

"So the flag pole will be about in this area and then right in front of the flag pole will be the signage piece," David Karem said.

Karem is the president of the Waterfront Development Corporation.

The corporation took over the Belvedere 6 years ago and had no idea it once held the Vietnam Memorial. Karem’s focus became finding the memorial’s new home.

This signage is already complete and with the popularity of the Big Four Bridge, the location was a no brainer.

"In fact we literally just got counts that the first year that this bridge ramp has been open we've had over one million people counted on the bridge," Karem said.

"This is a perfect place for it down here at the Big Four Bridge, probably better than the belvedere now since this has been completed down here,” Lundgard said.

 The signage like others in Waterfront Park will be in Braille. The text will match the wording of the plaque from 1983 with a not that it once stood on the Belvedere, originally dedicated in 1983 and rededicated on the 11 of November 2014. The flag will fly much higher than the original.

"We wanted a flag pole large enough that it did not fly underneath that. We wanted the flag pole so that basically as you're coming up basically at this level you're almost going to be eye level with the flag pole – wow,” Karem said.

Lundgard says although many of his fellow soldiers are now gone, this is his way to make sure they’re not forgotten.

"I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of your efforts, and David Karem's and the city," he said.

Lundgard is organizing the Veterans Day ceremony where the memorial will be dedicated.

He’s inviting city officials including the mayor, a color guard and soldiers from Fort Knox.