I was old enough to remember the Vietnam War, yet too young where it made any direct impact on my life. It wasn’t until today that I saw the faces of that war, the ones that survived seeming not that much older than myself. Their wrinkles, however, embedded with much more pain and sorrow than I could ever imagine.
The Colony hosted an inspiring Veteran’s Day Tribute to Veteran’s, especially those 58,229 that gave their life in the Vietnam War and those soldiers, families and friends still here to remember the past.
The major focus was The Wall That Heals, a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. This tribute travels to communities across the United States, touching Americans with its message of honor and healing. Many families are not able to travel to our Nation’s Capitol to experience The Wall there. Since its dedication, The Wall That Heals has traveled to more than 300 cities and towns.
Along with this amazing portable structure is a museum and information center designed to bring the face of the Vietnam War to life. The Education center includes memorabilia, original letters and photos of many that died in our history’s tragic war.
As I walked The Wall That Heals, and saw the names once again (I have been to The Wall in Washington, DC), it hurt my heart to know that all of these soldiers fought for me, and I could not recognize even one name. They were transparent to me, yet I know they existed.
One family was there with a wonderful arrangement of flowers for their loved one, others sporting their uniforms, emblems, leather vests, and arm bands. A young female soldier was there, dressed in camo, reviewing the names on the bricks of The Colony’s Veteran Memorial, perhaps recognizing a few of the soldiers who perished in war. I wanted to approach her, hug her, and say “Thank You”. She has made the same choice as every other soldier past or present, the same as all those heroes whose names are on The Wall That Heals, The WWII Memorial in DC, Veteran’s Memorial Park in McKinney, on the headstones in Pecan Grove Cemetery, and in the hearts of children and grandchildren all over the country.
The Education Center had a timeline, along with a map of the area that highlighted the fighting zones. One gentleman, non-descript in stature, stood there seeming to be mesmerized by that map. He intently scrutinized the entire area until he found that spot where he fought the “enemy”. Again, another face of the Vietnam War.
The brotherhood, a.k.a. the band of brothers was evident as men shook hands with each other, brought together by memories. They did not know each other directly but the loyalty, duty, respect, service, honor, integrity and courage they share for the United States of America and our freedom needed no introduction. These core values were their connection.
How does our country forget, regret, protest, and dishonor the American Soldier? How will the attitude of future generations affect our freedom? My father was a soldier during WWII. He stands proud of his service. I am proud he stood for my freedom and the freedom of this country.
The young female soldier took the time to honor her fellow GI’s. She is walking in their shoes, down the same uncertain path, ready at a moment’s notice to lay down her life to protect mine. I hugged her and said “Thank You”.
There are many ways you can help to preserve history and memorialize those in the Armed Forces who gave their lives to serve our country. You can contact The Veteran’s Memorial Fund at www.vvmf.org or call 202-393-0090 for more information. Also, the Town Square Buzz Foundation is a local organization whose mission is designed to assist local Veterans. For more information visit http://townsquarebuzzfoundation.org/