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.
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.
For us, on this side, there is so much pain, anguish, hurt, and feelings of such great loss for reasons we are unable to comprehend. What a price to pay for our freedom. Why does freedom have to cost so much? You would think by looking at all the grave sites in Arlington, that people, [the government in particular], would find a better way to live.
I reflect on what might have been for those we lost, those we will lose, and for those of us that must carry on, knowing how our lives will be forever changed. You just don't turn off what we endured in Vietnam, or in any war, for that matter. In war, NO ONE wins, ever.
The Wall is many things to each who sees her, touches her, and knows her. They say if you touch The Wall, it touches your heart. Those are profound words.
For many of us, the war never ended. We just rotated to a new LZ. Battles still rage with no winners again. Who would have thought that a black piece of granite in the ground would have such an impact on this great nation? It’s very humbling, to say the least. If it doesn't get your attention, then you are in the wrong world.
At The Wall, you come to grips with the reality of Life and Death standing side by side, yet they have always been close to all of us. At times, they have even been close enough you could feel their breath on your back.
When we walk away from The Wall, we each take a piece of 58,272 hearts with us, just as we leave pieces of ours behind, and we wonder, “Is it enough? Did I say and do the right things? How do I repay the debt given for my life?” It is impossible.
We all must strive to live up to their standards -- they are ALL watching us, too. Pay attention, AMERICA. The Wall is speaking to us and it simply asks a simple question, “Do we need any more Walls?” It’s our choice and, like over there in country, there are only two choices: Life or Death.
ALL the leaders of our country should just forget the ceremonial wreath laying for publicity. They need to take a walk along The Wall and a real hard look at the names. It's the only way they can truly understand what price has been paid and is still being paid for our nation. Maybe then they will grasp the true meaning of "We The People" and what those words really stand for.
When we all took the Oath to defend her, we did it, and we still do today. It’s something that can never be taken away, ever.
When you see a Veteran from any war, say, “Thank You.” It speaks volumes to us.
My final thoughts for The Wall is this: simply stand in front of her and in a loud and clear voice say, "THANK YOU".
Paid in Full.
“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