A few weeks ago, I invited all of you to write something you will always remember about your first visit to The Wall.
You have touched The Wall and The Wall has touched back ... through your hearts.
Special Memorial Day Salute: "Remembrances at The Wall"
It was a very powerful and emotional day, but also a day I when was never prouder to be a Vietnam Veteran, surrounded by brothers and sisters that could never come home with me. Our cause was just! May they rest in peace.
Curtis W. Scarbro
As I made my way to The Wall, I started feeling an omnipresence of several Brothers whose names were inscribed in that black granite.
My second visit was on Veterans Day weekend, 11/11/12, at which time I had the great Honor and Privilege of reading my fallen brother, Jim's, name off. He is Honored and Remembered on Panel 31W, Line 71, B/4/12, 199th LIB (Redcatchers).
You will begin to heal ...
When I first visited the Wall, in 1994, I stood outside, in anguish, for more than an hour. I couldn't go in. I still tear up when I think about that day.
As I reached the apex, I totally lost it. It was a very emotionally moment.
A very hard, long walk in ’89. It is still hard today. It transforms you.
I was there for the dedication and have been back several times.
I have never been to the real Wall and in reality, I probably never will. But looking at The Wall in pictures, I see many things, and I feel many emotions, both good and bad.
For some of us, we can see through The Wall and we understand who is on the other side looking back. These are friends, comrades, brothers, husbands, sons, and daughters, and I feel they are watching us, too.
I wonder what they are saying about us, as they stand together over there. Could be that each of our names is etched in the granite on their side of The Wall, because we fought beside them in Vietnam.
Then, as each of us leaves this world and passes through to their side, our name will disappear from the granite, one by one, to the very last name, until finally their side of The Wall is blank again, just as it was when The Wall was started back in '82. It's just something I ponder.
I've been to the Wall twice. The last time was this past April, as part of a tour package, but tours don't allow you to really see what you want, how you want. All who are Inscribed on the Wall deserve to be
remembered, not just that day, but always.
Those that have passed reach out to comfort those of us seeking answers and comfort when all other doors are closed. Therapy comes from those who understand, and even though they are not among the living, their souls still speak the same language of compassion, unity, reality, sacrifice, Patriotism, brotherhood, and unselfish acts for fellow warriors, no matter the risk, or outcome. Our Warriors on The Wall deserve the Honor and more.
The Wall always causes one to pause and reflect. It’s such a mournful monument. So many ultimate sacrifices. The souls of warriors gone on before to eternal rest, a just reward, and peace at last. Take Care CJ. God Bless and Watch Over You.
I have tried several times, but something in me says, “Do not go.” I want to real bad, but do not know if I can take it without some brothers there for comfort. I lost a lot of good brothers at Knotum during TET and it’s eating me alive. Why am I still here and they are all gone? I wonder why the Lord has spared me and not them.
Fred aka Tbb
The picture and images say it all. I have talked to several Vietnam vets who said that they can’t bring themselves to visit The Wall. I simply say to them, “If that’s a decision you can live with, that’s fine.” Many reply with just two words and then walk away, “Shut up.”
I went to the wall, looked for some names, and then beat a hasty retreat.
I haven’t been able to do The Wall in D.C. yet. I’ve been trying since it was built. I’ve been to the 173rd’s Wall at Ft. Benning and it’s long. I got back [from Nam] in 1967.
James M. Moore
I felt a hand on my back. I thought it was my friend's wife, but when I looked up, it was my own wife. She said "You've held that in for too many years. Let it out".
This past Memorial Day weekend, as is my custom, I went down to the Wall a few times. It is always a contemplative experience. Aside from the VN vets and tourists there were a few Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who were moved by their experience.
Prior to the Wall, I used to go to Arlington Cemetery on Veterans Day. There were times when there would only be 10 or 20 people in attendance for the wreath laying. Then Jan Scruggs had a vision and The Wall was erected. That was a game changer. The Wall is now the most visited memorial in Washington.
Now there is a plethora of worthy veteran-related charities: Wounded Warrior, Yellow Ribbon, etc., all established to assist our more recent veterans. It came to me that this public outpouring of support for those who serve is the legacy of the VN Veteran.
I would like to visit the wall but I probably won't. It’s just the way it is; however, the names are all of my brothers and sisters who could not get this far with me. I miss them, but we will all be together in the blink of an eye. "They were not here before, they will not be here again, but they are here always.”
Bruce Wayne Thompson
I served in Vietnam from September 1967, until April 1969.
The first time we went to The Wall in 2006, he discovered that several of his men were killed on his birthday. It was a life changing day for him.
My best friend and I joined at the same time and two years later, his brother joined the Army. Donny’s name is on the wall and every time I think about this young boy killed in Nam, I cry for his loss and all the brothers and sisters.
My best friend died last year a day after my 69th birthday. I miss them both.
Ten years ago, I took the trip to The Wall. Too much feeling overran me. I couldn’t hold my place but for a few minutes. I don’t know if I can stand to ever visit that black beautiful tribute to so many buddies.
I'll never forget the way we were treated when we returned home to an UNGRATEFUL Nation.
To this day I'm not scared of much, but visiting that Wall might break me. Hopefully, someday.
I went to The Wall in D.C. once. I leaned on a tree and bawled my eyes out.
When I reached the far end, I had to get a POW/MIA bracelet -- when the name on my first one came home, I had sent it to him. I picked one from the bucket, but something just 'felt wrong', so I dropped it back to pull out another. This one felt like it just jumped into my hand.
When I got back to the hotel and opened it up, it turned out to be the CO of an outfit I'd served with...
If at all possible I will be at the Wall on Memorial Day. CJ, maybe we can meet. I'll take you to lunch at the Gramasy Hotel. Nice place I have been there before.
Call sign Long Ranger 2 … “OUT”
There were so many bikes there. I never got an official count, but at least 750,000. It was very moving.
The Traveling Wall visited my home town of Lancaster, Ohio, from 10/30/'13 to 11/4/'13. It was at our fairgrounds and it was also a moving experience.
My lady took them off to the side and I walked along The Wall alone. DC traffic was kind of noisy and yet when I walked close to The Wall, it was completely quiet. Powerfully quiet!
I go back when it feels like I should for Rolling Thunder.
We had the veterans stand down here a month ago. I got to go to that and The Mobil Wall.
Vernon Pete James
My first time to see the Wall was Spring of 1985. I was a chaperone for my daughter's high school band trip to DC.
Not only was I awestruck by the beautiful memorial, but by the kids’ reactions to seeing it. Here was a bunch of rowdy high schoolers, and they are somber and quiet. Those that had questions were asking them in low tones.
When facing this wall, we realize every Vietnam veteran that's around today could have been on The Wall. Thank God we missed the chance. We gave some, but they gave all. God bless our brothers on The Wall.
Feeling weird, because I never looked at the names. I knew all the ones that were with me and from my hometown. We lost 1,000 from the state of Washington.
Owen T. McCandlis was my hero, deceased 6 Feb. 1970. He was 26 years old. He died in Hue, and I brought him home.
Thanks, CJ, for your help in easing the pain that we all carry. Maybe, the people who declare war could walk among the names and decide a different approach...next conflict?
**Would you like to add thoughts and feelings about your first visit to The Wall? Please feel free to leave them in the comment section. ~CJ
“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale