The Eric Voughn Dickson Memorial was unveiled Saturday at Woodland Park’s Memorial Park, a bit over 50 years after Dickson’s death in Vietnam. Visitors filled most of the city’s 500 chairs, while others brought their own.
Various active military, veterans, city and county officials and first responders attended, along with Eric Dickson’s mother, Shirley Dickson, 93, and other family members.
Emceeing the event, Steve Plutt welcomed home all the Vietnam veterans in the audience, a welcome he said was long overdue.
The Fort Carson 4th Infantry Band provided the music; a U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard posted the colors; Dan Williams, commander of the Eric V. Dickson American Legion Post 1980, led the Pledge of Allegiance; and Woodland Park High School student Shyanne Christensen sang the National Anthem.
Teller County Commissioner Gen. Norm Steen, retired from the U.S. Army, said Dickson’s Memorial is dedicated to all those who served in Vietnam.
“Eric’s life was one of principle and valor,” he said. “He is a role model for the values we must communicate to our young people.”
Dickson was the only Woodland Park/Teller County resident to die in Vietnam but the memorial is dedicated to all Vietnam Veterans who died, either in the war or because of it
Lance Corporal Dickson was born on Dec. 17, 1947. He graduated from Woodland Park High School in May 1967. He was well known as a leader among his peers, an all-around athlete and a person who thrived on helping others. Three days after graduation he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. One year later, on May 31, 1968, he was killed in action.
A memorial fountain was soon erected in his honor in downtown Woodland Park but vandals destroyed most of it in 1978. Its remnants fell into disrepair and were finally removed.
On July 4, 2017, the Eric V. Dickson Memorial Project was started to create a new monument in Dickson’s honor. Project committee members received permission from the Woodland Park City Council to place the memorial in the newly renovated Memorial Park and hired Victor bronze artist Mike Halterman to create the new monument.
Steve Storrs, who dedicated the first Dickson Memorial, talked about his boyhood friend and their meeting in seventh grade.
“Eric’s creed was ‘Do the right thing,’” he said. “Nobody is going to tear this memorial down.”
Other speakers included Brig. General Michael J. Willis, State Sen. Kevin Grantham, Tony Perry and Woodland Park Mayor Neil Levy, who read a proclamation he made earlier this year, declaring May 31, 2018 as Eric V. Dickson Day. Gov. John Hickenlooper also made a similar declaration at about the same time.
Eric Voughn Dickson is honored on Panel 62W, Row 8 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.