Sunday, August 20, 2017

Marine Vietnam Veteran Built A Memorial--In His Yard

A special ceremony for Vietnam veterans: Area man built his own museum, war memorial

Bismark Tribune
Nathan Bowe
Forum News Service
August 19, 2017



Howard Maninga stands beside the veterans memorial he built on his property in rural Ponsford. All new flags will be raised at a ceremony open to all Vietnam veterans on Aug. 26. Nathan Bowe, Forum News Service

PONSFORD, Minn. — Fifty years ago, Howard Maninga of rural Ponsford went to fight in Vietnam as a young Marine. He came back, but he brought Vietnam with him.
“I went into Vietnam in ‘67,” says Maninga, now age 69. “When I got home, I couldn’t get married unless my dad signed off on it — I was too young.”
He fought in the battle of Guay, and spent 10½ months in Vietnam, fighting the Viet Cong, North Vietnamese, and at times, the Chinese, he said. Most of the time, he carried the “The Law,” an M79 shoulder-fired grenade launcher.
“We were sent there to kill people, and that’s what we did,” said Maninga, who grew up near the small southeastern Becker County community of Midway and joined the Marines because he “wanted to be a grunt,” he said.

The war was 50 years ago, but he said it has never left him. “You can’t put nothing aside — it keeps coming back, like yesterday,” said Maninga. If not for strong family support, especially from his wife, Trudy, he said he would have been dead long ago.
A member of the Marine Corps League North Star Detachment, Maninga also spends a lot of time performing honor guard duties at the funerals of veterans. “We’ve done 370-some funerals,” he said.
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