"Thus, this memorial is for those who have died, and for us to remember them."
~Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, The Wall
Recently (8/16/18 - 8/19/18), The Wall That Heals made its way to Warren, Ohio, near where we live. It is the 375' replica of The Wall in Washington, DC. On Friday we spent much of the morning there. Feelings of solemness and reverence were evident as folks visited and paid respects.
As we looked at the Hometown Heroes, we found ourselves very conscious of ages - most only 18 - 21. My husband recognized names of some of his high school classmates' brothers. Then we slowly strolled by the 140 panels bearing 58,318 names. I looked for the name of one guy from my high school class. I never spotted his name. Later in the Mobile Education Center, I found his name and location on the wall in the alphabetical directory. He was a Marine Corporal. Later when I saw his name on Panel 31W, I choked up. I knew him. We'd graduated only 2 years and 8 months before he died. He lived 21 years, 7 months, and 3 days.
Many thoughts ran through my mind. With my heart touched so much with the one person I knew casually from long ago, I imagined the emotions that parents, spouses, sweethearts, family, friends, and veterans feel when they find the names of loved ones or buddies. I also found myself thinking back to that period of time when this young Marine died. Although I have no idea what I was doing on that particular day, I know I was living safely in the United States. Quite a contrast to what was happening on the other side of the globe so far away.
If The Wall That Heals comes to a community near you, go. On the website (www.VVMF.org) you can find the schedule for The Wall That Heals, along with a wealth of information. And commit to let Veterans and Active Service members know you appreciate their service to defend the freedoms we have in the USA. The Wall and The Wall That Heals help us remember that freedom isn't free, and that many have served and given their lives for the rest of us.