This is a view of the East wing of the Traveling Wall. The left end starts while the French were still there in 1955 and runs through mid-1968 on the right end.
This is a view of the West wing of the Traveling Wall. The left end of this segment starts out in mid-1968 and continues until the last death of the war in 1975.
The Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall came to my little home town of Gorham, N.H. this weekend. I wrestled with the idea of going to see it, or not going to see it. I was afraid that if I went, I would lose the ambition to go see the real thing in D.C. After a lot of soul searching, I decided I could not pass up the opportunity to go and see it. I mean heck, I only live 6 miles away from it. I am so glad I did. I am now even more determined to get my butt down to D.C. Enough time has passed, and let's face it, or at least I have to face it, I am no longer a "spring chicken."
The lay-out of this monument is quite unique in that the beginning and the end of the war meet right in the middle. I wonder what, if any, significance should be read into that? As impressive as the wall is, what struck me the hardest was the number of panels dedicated to the lives lost in 1968, the year I was there. On the far right, the last 38 panels, and on the far left, another 36 panels are covered with the thousands of names of my fellow comrades who died while I was there. (The total number of panels is 150.)(I arrived in country on Jan. 5th 1968 and left on Jan. 4th 1969.) How many did I meet but not get to know? How many may have been just ahead or just behind me and maybe took the one meant for me? As a Huey crewchief, I was in the air most of the time. How many did we fly over, not knowing that their minutes were numbered? How many shot the very same gook just as he was about to shoot us down? To many questions. No answers. I found a quote which I can not give credit for the author, but I have to share it with you, my dear readers. Some very profound words:
"For those who fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
Take a close look at these numbers. America sent 3,100,000 men and women to Vietnam to fight for freedom, to keep Communism from spreading throughout South East Asia. Of that number, 58,253 died, 153,303 were wounded, and 1,802 are still missing. That, my friends, means that about 7 out of every 100 personel sent over there were very seriously physically affected. I am sure you can quadruple that percentage if you add in the severely mentally screwed up. Gee, with all that I wonder why Vietnam vets were THE FIRST to step up to the plate to make sure the Gulf War vets were HONORED and WELCOMED HOME upon their return? Why are most Vietnam Vets so damned patriotic? Why do they detest assholes that burn our flag? Why do they still care so much for a country that turned their backs on them? Why are they on that dumb bitch, Janet Napolitano's hit list? Why? Why? Why?
Because we LOVE America, THAT'S WHY!!
During the weekend, I started feeling a bit nostalgic, so I also visited the memorials in Gorham and Berlin. That brought on a whole lot more feelings and memories which I think I shall write about, perhaps in a future post. Until then friends, spread this word for me if you would, "If you love your freedom, thank a vet!" Make a habit of it, it'll actually make you feel better about yourself.
These pictures were taken with our fairly new camera. My wife has become quite good at taking pictures with it, but since she has pretty much confiscated it since we bought it, I have just started to feel comfortable with it. If you left click on the pictures, you will find that they are HUGE! And beautiful, even if I do say so myself. Here's 1 more for you. It's interesting to compare the statistics of the various wars in our history.
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