A POW/MIA Memorial for the Hampton Roads Community
The Flame of Hope monument was originally conceived in 1972 as a volunteer project headed by Attack Squadron 43 at NAC Oceana. This monument provided squadron personnel with a means to express their concern for the Prisoners of War and Missing in Action (POW/MIAs) of the Vietnam War. The monument was built by volunteers from Construction Battalion 415 and sponsored by the Virginia Beach Jaycees and Oceana wives of the “They’re Not Forgotten” committee. The Virginia Beach Jaycees coordinated contributions from the community which enabled VA-43 to obtain supplies for the memorial. The Flame of Hope was formally dedicated on Friday, May 22, 1972.
The original intent for the memorial was that a live flame light the way for the return of all POW/MIAs from South East Asia, after which the flame would be extinguished. The dream of those promoting the monument was that “the flame burn briefly.” However, as time passes the Flame of Hope Memorial in Virginia Beach continues to stand as a symbol of hope and awareness for the thousands of service men and women Missing In Action and taken Prisoner Of War.
Sadly, over the years the park has fallen victim to wear and tear. Recently a veteran visited the park and was distraught by the weather worn condition that the park is now in. As co-curators of the park, the Virginia Beach Jaycees have stepped up to support the renovation of the park and restore it to its former glory.
It is our intention as Jaycees to rejuvenate this beautiful, usable green space that proudly memorializes those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. The first phase of this project will take place on Feb 3rd on Four Chaplin’s Day. Four Chaplin’s Day is not directly tied to the POW/MIA movement, but the story embodies the concept of hope and courage the park represents. Throughout the day, we will be raising the flagpole, replacing the sconce of the flame and holding a dedication for the renovation of this beautiful green space and memorial garden.
On Feb 3rd, the flame will be temporarily transferred to the Oceana Air Base’s Chapel at 9 a.m. to allow us to do the work. Once transferred, we will have two teams start their tasks. One team will be assigned to lifting the flagpole into place, adding sand and leveling out the pole; while team two replaces the old sconce and flashing. Once the hard work is done, we will have a dedication ceremony starting at 2 p.m. There will be a raising of the new flag followed by the pledge of allegiance/national anthem. Then we will have a guest speaker tell the story of the Four Chaplin’s as the embodiment of hope and courage the park represents.
Though the funds for phase one of the project has been met through the Jaycee’s Charity Fund, we are looking to replenish those funds for the use in future renovations. These will include a memorial garden, walking paths, a commemorative brick walk way, and observation field. Any donation will be tax deductible and help the Jaycees launch the next phase of the project; the commemorative brick walk way up to the flame. We have set up special thank you gifts for different donation levels, listed below:
- $25-$49 – Commemorative Flame Of Hope Challenge T-Shirt
- $50-$99 – Commemorative Flame Of Hope Challenge Coin
- $100-249 – Commemorative Flame Of Hope Challenge Coin Plaque
- $250-$499 – Engraved brick in memorial pathway
- $500-$999 – Engraved brick at base of memorial
- $1000-$2499 – Flagpole(Sold)/Walkway Dedication
- $2500-$4999 – Dedication on park bench
- $5000 – Dedication of Thomas Jefferson Magnolia Tree (1 available)
- $10,000 – Observation Field Dedication (1 available)
- $20,000 – Entrance Monument Dedication (1 available)
To donate to the Flame of Hope renovation, please visit the VB Jaycees Charities page and use the Donate button to access our PayPal portal.
Thank you again for your support! Together, we can restore this underutilized green space into the beautiful memorial garden it once was.