One Veteran way to Remember
For one Vietnam Veteran, remembering was not enough. Over the years, each veteran has had to come to terms with the Vietnam War in his or her own way. Max Loffgren choose to pay tribute to those Americans who are still in Vietnam. His 1955 Chevy dragster is adorned with the names of 2,211 POW/MIA.
Loffgren served in the Americal Division in Vietnam between 1969-1970. He is now a firefighter in Fairfield, California who has taken to the racing circuit. "The car speaks for itself...people understand it." His goal is to use the car more to educate than to race. "This is for those guys and their families."
The Chevy was pulled from a field to be resurrected. With over a 3 years of work the car has been transformed into both a piece of art and a technical triumph.
The hard work is already paying off. People gather around this unusual car to look for a name they might recognize, or reflect on the sacrifice. Dan Ulrich, a volunteer helping with the car said, "You look at the 2,211 names and think about what they and their families went through and your imagination just kind of takes off."
Many individuals and businesses have played a roll in the project. The names create a common bond between those working on the project. Bill Laferriere has spent hours working on the car and is a veteran. He saw the name of a childhood friend. "I also found out three guys from my platoon are MIAs," he said.
"Maybe the families will realize that their son is not forgotten or their dad is not forgotten," commented Ulrich. In fact, many tears have been shed when family members come in contact with the car. Loffgren recalls that, "A young lady was sitting in the grandstands and saw our flags. She walked up, looked at the names and said 'that's my dad.' She thanked us and gave us a hug. There were a lot of tears."
What does the future hold for Max Loffgren and his 1955 Chevy? He plans to continue educating the public by showing the car around the U.S. He also hopes to enter the Chevy in the racing circut for the 1997 season. Whatever happens, the 2,211 POW/MIA rest knowing that YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN.