“The Wall” 25 Years Later
November 5, 2007
One of the first memorials that I wanted to see, the first time I visited Washington D.C. was the Vietnam Wall. The name of a family friend is on that wall and I immediately found his name. I remember many people from my hometown going off to Vietnam. I remember 2 of my Uncles serving, one who served in Vietnam and the other served as a nurse in the military hospital in Honolulu, caring for wounded as they arrived back in the US. I remember how proud I was of all of them then, and how proud I am of them today. I remember watching in horror on television, as people, many only a couple of years older than myself, protested our Troops as they returned home and treated them horribly. I remember wondering what in the hell was wrong with those people, much like I wonder about the anti-war protestors of today.
I remember clearly, as I walked up to “The Wall,” what I was thinking. What a sacred place it was, how beautiful “The Wall” appeared, as the afternoon sun glinted off of it’s black surface and what a fantastic tribute it is, to the men and women who lost their lives, who gave their all for our country, in Vietnam. I remember thinking how sacred this memorial is, not only to me, but especially to the men and women who stood besides these fallen warriors, to their families and friends. How sacred it should be to each and every American.
It’s been 25 years since the Vietnam Memorial Wall was dedicated. Many things have taken place over that period of time and a lot has changed in this country. But “The Wall” remains, standing as a beacon, honoring those fallen Warriors who so gallantly gave their lives in Vietnam, reminding us of what they gave for our country. This year, Vietnam Veterans of America are hosting the 25th Anniversary Parade, in celebration of the dedication of “The Wall.” The parade will be held on Saturday, November 10th, 2007. Opening ceremonies will begin on the National Mall at 10am and, between Jefferson and Madison Drives in Washington D.C. The parade will begin at 11am and last until approximately 4pm. Thousands of participants are expected. Throughout the day, there will be various activities and vendors on the Washington Monument Grounds.
This will be a special time. A time to remember those who served during the Vietnam War, especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. This parade, in many ways, will be the “Welcome Home” that these warriors so rightly deserved, yet never received, as they returned home. Starting November 6th, through Veteran’s Day on November 11th, special events, suching as the reading of the names on “The Wall,” will be held. Please visit the The Vietnam Veterans of America website for information on all of the events that will be occurring during this next week.
This event should offer us time to reflect. To reflect on the terrible treatment these men and women received when they returned home to “the world.” It should be a time as well, to reflect on the men and women who are serving today, again in a foreign land and know that these Warriors are serving, as the men and women who served during Vietnam served, with honor, pride, dedication and loyalty to our country. This event, will give us the opportunity to finally pay Honor and Respect to these brave Warriors, as well as the brave Vietnam Era Warriors who are still living and never received the “Welcome Home” that they so rightly deserved. It should be a time for us to reflect and to vow …… Never Again will the Warriors who serve our country come home to what our Vietnam Warriors did.
As a special way to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of “The Wall” and the memorial events that will be taking place, the Vietnam Veterans of America have teamed up with Boston Publishing Company to create a special commemorative book, titled simply, “The Wall. This book will showcase many famous photographs that have been published about “The Wall.” As well, there will be special feature articles and photo essays that document the history of “The Wall,” from it’s inception in 1982 to it’s place today as the most visited memorial at our nation’s capital. Included in this special book will be essays and reflection on the Vietnam War, interviews with Medal of Honor recepients, letters and mementoes from Maya Linn. All proceeds from the book will go to assist The Vietnam Veterans of America’s charitable causes, which include outreach programs, benefits assistance and housing programs for Vietnam War, Gulf War, Afghan War and Iraqi War Veterans. To pre-order your copy of the book, for only $10, plus $2.95 shipping and handling, please visit The Vietnam Veterans of America 25th Anniversary Keepsake page.
This is an event, that if all possible, you should attempt to attend. If you’re in the Washington D.C. area, please take the time to attend the Parade and the other events and help give our Vietnam Veterans the kind of Welcome Home that they deserve. If you’re unable to attend, don’t hesitate to go up to a Vietnam Vet, shake his or her hand and tell them “Welcome Home and Thank You!”