More than a half-century after serving his nation, U.S. Air Force veteran Tony Lubacky will spend this Veterans Day at a table near the entrance of an Albertsons in Eagle telling people about the efforts of the local chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America to build the Treasure Valley's first Vietnam Veterans memorial—four decades after the official end of the conflict.
"We lost approximately 217 Idahoans in Vietnam," said Lubacky. "It's long past the time to honor them with a memorial."
VVA Chapter No. 1025 approached the city of Boise earlier this year with a proposal to place a monument in Veterans Memorial Park, which will be modeled after the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
"We've been working on this idea for a couple of years now, and this year we were ready to talk to the city of Boise about installing the memorial in Veterans Memorial Park," said Lubacky. "Twin Falls has a Vietnam Veterans Memorial, so does Idaho Falls. We don't have one."
The city leases Veterans Memorial Park from the state of Idaho, so state officials and the Idaho Veterans Advisory Council first needed to sign off on the idea.
"And everybody is on board," said Jerry Pugh, Community Programs coordinator at Boise Parks and Recreation. "We're always pretty excited to work with veterans organizations."
The memorial would be installed on the pathway leading to the memorial plaza, but Pugh said it may be moved a bit farther down the path in the future.
"Details are still being worked out, but there are discussions about having all of the memorials at the end of the pathway to create a new veterans memorial plaza," said Pugh.
Lubacky said VVA Chapter No. 1025 has already reached out to Meridian-based Memorial Monuments about the design, but a project like theirs isn't cheap.
"We're going to sell commemorative bricks to the public," he added. "That's why you'll see vets at Albertsons and Rosauers grocery stores in Boise, Eagle and Meridian. Once we talk to people about the idea, they love it and agree that it's long overdue."