Unknown Palo Alto solidier, circa 1969 by Hardy, named

In the wake of the Ehren Tool show, Jim Hardy found my blog and then posted some descriptions of the events that inspired his art, meant to honor a fallen comrade.

He mentioned the name of the soldier who, years later he noted, had “Palo Alto” written on his helmet, the detail that sparked my interest.

It wasn’t until after I bothered the mother and the younger brother of the man, that I read Hardy’s account of the Veterans’ Art show years later, that described Hardy’s regret and embarrassment, in that while the art was meant to honor M_, the fact of the work hit B_ in such a way, as one might well imagine.

I think Palo Alto should honor B-. We do have, as commissioner Beth Bunnenberg has pointed out at recent Historic Resource Board meetings, a monument, or several, at 27 University, as well as the fact that MacArthur Park restaurant building, is actually a monument, in that it is a former Officers Club or rec hall for soldiers, the first of it’s kind in the U.S. circa 1920.

I am wondering about something about Hardy, M_, and B_ perhaps in Seale Park. (Where I had previously suggested naming either the new restrooms, the basketball court or the park itself for my teammate Kent Lockhart, three bounce passes from our current POTUS — Lockhart, to Duncan to Obama).

Or maybe we can honor B_ and other Vietnam War heroes — or post-Vietnam heroes, if we fold in Gulf Wars I and II — we have a Agent Robert Parham on the police force, for instance, living — at the former Fry’s site, which powers that be are pushing towards 500 units of housing: how about 200 units of housing and Memorial Park, on 7.7 acres?

Thank you to the family of B_ for your gift to our country and community, these 45 years, and sorry if it has taken local leadership so many years to feel your feelings. God bless B_.

(I redacted his name, until we hopefully get the family’s blessings or officially acknowledge B_)

Hardy’s carving:

artwork by Jim Hardy, depicting a solider who had written PALO ALTO on his helm

artwork by Jim Hardy, depicting a solider who had written PALO ALTO on his helm

A detail of the photo that was taken 20 years prior, and days before the ambush:

Detail of photo, infantry, from Vietnam War, 1969

Detail of photo, infantry, from Vietnam War, 1969


About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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