SC Senate Blocks Aiken Vietnam Monument Movement

A couple of Combat Veterans are starting a 53 mile walk from Aiken County to the Capitol to address and bring attention to the SC Senate’s refusal to allow Aiken County to move an RVN Monument. The monument honors 30 Aiken RVN heroes who died in combat during the Vietnam War. It is on now an inaccessible state property and requires General Assembly approval to move it. The General Assembly House responded to the Aiken City and County’s request almost unanimously agreeing to move the monument a small distance to a Veterans Park.

We in the military never want to leave our deceased comrades behind and many suffer and die attempting to save fallen comrades. Our RVN monuments are revered places and similar to grave stones. All veterans understand this. Today’s combat veterans are walking to uphold this honor. We can join them as they reach the Capitol or cheer them on when they arrive. These are Special Forces veterans, one just returning from a tour of duty in Africa. He has served numerous combat tours. He and his battle buddy care and understand.

JOIN US. They will be at the SC Military Museum (301 Gervais St) at 11 AM on Thursday morning and will march up to the Capitol arriving at Noon where they will make their petition to the Senate. Please show support for this effort. Copied below is a recent press release explaining a bit more in detail what this is all about. Note that I am an attorney, but while licensed to practice before the US Supreme Court, many Federal courts, and the Maryland courts, I am not licensed to practice law in South Carolina. While born and raised in Baltimore, I have a strong South Carolina heritage and have lived in this great Palmetto State almost 20 years.

April 5, 2021

*****NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION*****

GWOT Veterans “Walking The Walk” to Raise Awareness for Vietnam Veterans Memorial Monument

Global War on Terror Veterans Lowell Koppert, a former Army Special Forces Green Beret Soldier, and Ray Care, a former Navy Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL) Team member, are “walking the walk” and traversing 53 miles from the City of Aiken to the steps of the South Carolina State House to raise awareness for the movement of a Vietnam Veterans Memorial monument that has become mired in the politics of the Heritage Act and current social viewpoints on war monuments.

The Aiken County Veterans Council requested and received approval from both the City Council of Aiken and the County Council of Aiken County for the transfer of property and movement of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial monument located at the intersection of Laurens Street and Edgefield Avenue NW to the Aiken County Veterans’ Park located at 1435 Richland Ave East. But before the monument could go any further, it had to pass one more hurdle - under the South Carolina Heritage Act, a two-thirds majority vote is required from both the House and the Senate legislative bodies.

During a Vietnam War Remembrance program at the monument on Sunday, March 28th, Mr. Koppert stated “This isn’t a monument issue – this is a monumental issue…the thirty names engraved on this monument…with ten of them having been drafted…held up their end of the bargain and they went (to war), all we are asking is that our legislators who volunteered to serve and work for you…, do the right thing and approve our Vietnam Veterans to be moved.”

After reviewing these matters, Attorney Sam Brick, who is also the South Carolina Vietnam Veterans of America State President stated, “It seems that the Senate does not want to do its elected duty under the law and their sworn responsibilities. They have a clearly stated action from the House that did its duty in the face of the same matter now facing the Senate. The House did its job.”

“An action attacking the validity of a code provision before the Supreme Court does not toll the Senate’s responsibility to act under that provision. Its failure supports the plaintiffs’ case before the Supreme Court that the Senate and SC Government are unable to perform in an adjudicative manner under that provision.”

“Besides such legal shenanigans played by Senate leadership, there should be a morale responsibility for the Senate to act. The object of the Aiken City and Aiken County governments is to continue the honor due veterans who died at the call of the nation and make the monument more accessible for honors. That honor has been suspended in Aiken by governmental development intruding on the monument precluding public visitations. Aiken wants to fix the matter and the SC code gives the General Assembly the duty to endorse the Aiken governmental action.”


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