Veteran’s Memorial Wall helps Miami remember those who served
In May 1969, Billy Ray Stubbs was in Vietnam on his second military tour. Stubbs entered the military as a volunteer when he was just 16. By the time he got to Vietnam, he had already toured as a Green Beret in South Korea, flown as many as 158 missions, and survived a crash 100 miles into enemy territory with a bounty on his head. On May 4, 1969, his helicopter collided with another. He didn’t survive this time. He was 18 years old.
To honor veterans like Stubbs, Miami councilman and veteran Darryl Dalley (who is retired from the army) planned and oversaw the building of the Miami Veteran’s Memorial Wall at the town’s Veteran’s Memorial Park, which was completed early this year.
Today, during Miami’s Veteran’s Day ceremony at the park, Dalley presented Stubbs’ younger brother Darrell, a Miami local, with a plaque commemorating his family’s loss. Darrell held back tears as he was handed the plaque.
After the the ceremony, Darrell and his wife Kelly Stubbs stopped at the base of the memorial, where there are rows of more than 800 bricks. They found the one they were looking for—it is engraved “Billy R. Stubbs, Vietnam Veteran, Lakeside Arizona.”
Since the wall’s completion earlier this year, already 193 bricks have been dedicated. Dalley continues to research names of locals who have served, and seeks friends and family members in the area of servicemen and women.
Dalley’s vision for the memorial began back in early 2012. At the time, Miami had the Veteran’s Memorial Park, but there was nothing in the park commemorating veterans. That March, Dalley approached the town council with his plan to build a memorial, at zero cost to the town, and it was approved.
Next, Dalley plans to build arches over the memorial, which symbolize strength, as well as a fence around the memorial to preserve it.
Meanwhile, he continues to seek out family members of veterans who have served, like the Stubbs, to honor at the memorial.
“Today’s ceremony was very personal,” Dalley said. “I wanted [Darrell] to get more closure.”
Dalley might have helped to do just that. As Darrell said before leaving the podium, his brother died doing something he wanted to do
Jenn Walker began writing for Globe Miami Times in 2012 and has been a contributor ever since. Her work has also appeared in Submerge Magazine, Sacramento Press, Sacramento News & Review and California Health Report. She currently teaches Honors English at High Desert Middle School and mentors Globe School District’s robotics team.