At a time when so many things serve to divide us—and when the divide seems almost impossible to navigate—last week's visit of the Vietnam veterans Moving Wall memorial offered an opportunity for everyone to come together and remember the brutal cost of war.
The stark reminder does not glorify war. With detached reality—as all facts should be presented—it simply lists name after name of the young men and women whose lives were cut way too short in a conflict that lasted way too long. A conflict that became a contentious part of our nation's history. Many of those who were fortunate enough to return, with injuries visible and unseen, were maligned, mistreated and ignored. The Moving Wall offers an opportunity for citizens across the nation to make strides to remedy a most unfortunate part of our country's history by honoring those who paid the ultimate price and by supporting those veterans who survived. They are the ones who spent countless volunteer hours devising a plan to bring the memorial to the area. They are the ones who continually live with the memories of the brothers and sisters they lost, and of the unrelenting damage and destruction they endured.
Thank you to the Vietnam Veterans Association of America #287; to the Almont American Legion Post 479, and to all the officials and volunteers who made the wall's visit possible.
Regardless of one's background, gender, and/or opinions regarding the Vietnam war, there is no doubt—no question—when it comes to the cost of that conflict. Standing in full view of the 58,000-plus names of those who died is nothing less than emotionally charged and deeply moving.
Though it's late in coming, it is no less heartfelt. We humbly bow with gratitude and respect for those who served in Vietnam. Thank you for your service, and for allowing Tri-City area residents to experience a part of history with renewed appreciation for life and a resounding invocation for peace.