"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Monday, May 19, 2014

Honoring The Wall: by Michael Lansford

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.

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.

I look at all the names and I can’t help but wonder, “What if my name were up there. How would I be remembered? What would be said of me, my family, everything?  My Legacy?  Would anyone even care?”

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. 

If not for The Wall, our country may have never truly known the real battles we fought for each other -- and are still fighting. Our Nation is now finally getting it and standing up for our troops everywhere and realizing the true meaning of freedom.

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.

It's not about political gain -- it's about life and how very precious it is. "We The People" is everyday America, and what we will always do to defend our freedom.  Our leaders should put aside their business and walk among true greatness, be humbled, reflect on what has been taken away from "We The People". Our leaders need to find a way to save life, not end it.

Always remember The Wall and what she stands for, as well as all other memorials. Debts Paid in Full.

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.

[Michael Lansford is a frequent contributor to Memoirs From Nam.  Thank you, Michael, and Welcome Home. ~ 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

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