On this sunny, cool fall Sunday morning, I headed out east through the Kansas prairie to thank someone.
The traveling Vietnam Wall was in El Dorado, Kansas this weekend and I wanted to see it this time around.
I’ve seen the Wall in Washington, D.C., but its been awhile.
This replica moved me in the same way. You’d think after 45 years it would get easier, but it doesn’t.
As I took in the sight from a distance, the Wall seemed to emerge from the green, the ends of its long black image slicing through the earth, coming together and rising to a zenith in the center, bearing the names it held.
What always impresses me is its simplicity, but also its power!
The stories, so many behind each of those 58,000 plus names… sons, fathers, husbands, sweethearts, brothers, high school buddies, and friends who left their homes to face an enemy they’d only heard about.
I took photos with me, one of my brother, Stan, and one of him with his squad. It was my way of giving a face/faces to the monument. A tangible… that presents a living-breathing young man, not just a raised name on a wall.
I was embraced by others who came—by strangers who knew…
There were no words necessary as we all had our reasons for being there, and tracing our fingers over the name we came to see.
One woman came over to me and asked if I’d like my picture taken, It was such a thoughtful gesture and of course I said, “Yes.” Her husband had been in Vietnam.
As I stood there I also felt gratitude, joy even, that I could stand in this place and remember a fun-loving brother who was part of my life for twenty years.
And, I was thankful for the peace I enjoy.
The Wall… will move on tomorrow, to another community… to others who will stand in its shadow to HONOR, REMEMBER, and WEEP.