Family works to honor Vietnam fallen from Coles County

MATTOON, Ill. (AP) — The family of a serviceman who died in Vietnam is working to improve war memorials at a park in Mattoon. The (Mattoon) Journal Gazette reports a Veterans Day ceremony is planned Wednesday to dedicate a new flagpole at a memorial to Cpl. Nelson Earl Van Gundy. He was Coles County’s first fatality in the Vietnam War. Mattoon resident Harold Van Gundy is the soldier’s brother. He and his family raised money to replace a 1965 flagpole at the Peterson Park memorial. They are now gathering photos of 17 fallen service members whose names are listed on a park monument. Their aim is to have the images etched onto the monument by Memorial Day. Van Gundy says the images will honor the dead by putting a face to each name.