A Trip to Charlotte

Scout cools his tail in a water bowl on the deck...

My wife and I went down to Charlotte recently for a wedding. (OK, OK, I know that here in North Carolina we go "up to Charlotte" but I just can't bring myself to say that...even if Charlotte is 361' higher in elevation than Raleigh.) That night we stayed at the Candlewood Suites on Harris Road. I have got to put in a plug for this hotel, because it was probably the best hotel for the money at which I have ever stayed. It was brand new and dirt cheap (on the weekend.) The manager was exceedingly cordial and helpful. We had a nice studio suite, with a complete kitchenette, and we were very comfortable. Furthermore, the hotel had a nice fitness room, a free guest laundry, and a convenience store/shop where you could buy every kind of food, beverage, and notion that you can imagine. Someone could easily stay for several days and simply buy his/her food and beverages right in the hotel. They even had canned soft drinks for a quarter!

On the way back, we stopped at a rest stop just north of Lexington on I-85. A sign at the entrance to the rest stop said, "NC Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park." I had never even heard of the Memorial, so we decided to walk down the path to see it. We really didn't know what to expect.

We were quite surprised to find a beautiful memorial park about 200 yards down the path. It is an amphitheater, with a brick wall bearing the names of the State's Vietnam War dead at one end. As we walked towards the wall, my wife asked if she should look for "Donald Shue" on the wall. I did not know it, but she had worn a MIA bracelet in the early 1970's and the name on the bracelet had been "Donald Shue." She had watched in the papers for news of him, but never saw anything. The bracelet eventually broke and she stopped wearing it.

We quickly found the name, "Donald Monroe Shue," on the wall, but there was no indication of his hometown. As we started walking out of the park, my wife reached over and pulled out a nearby yellow ribbon from the tree to which it was tied. She had glanced at it and saw that it read, "Donald M. Shue." It stated that his hometown was Kannapolis. The ribbons were evidently put up as part of a Memorial Day celebration.

The entrance to the North Carolina Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park.
(Click for a larger image.)

This is the Memorial Wall, with a brick bearing the name of each North Carolinian who died in the Vietnam War.
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Another view of the wall. The names are in alphabetical order, but without date or hometown.
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My wife located the brick bearing the name of the soldier whose MIA bracelet she wore.
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On the way out, she spotted a yellow ribbon bearing the name of her MIA along with the date he was declared missing and his hometown, Kannapolis.
(Click for a larger image.)

When we got home, she quickly found the bracelet, which had broken in half in the early 1970's.
(Click for a larger image.)

When we got home, she went upstairs and returned a few minutes later with the two pieces of her MIA bracelet. We still do not know much detail about S/Sgt. Donald Monroe Shue, but we will try to see if we can locate his family. The MIA bracelets were intended to be sent to the serviceman when he returned home or to his family if he was declared KIA. I think we'll see if we can't carry through with this.

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