November 13, 1982

It’s about time we got recognition.

Ugly! Where’s the flag? I could have done better myself.

Reviews by Vietnam Veterans were mixed at best when the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated on this date. Wounds were raw and the talk blunt less than a decade after the end of the war. Many sought the honor and respect so freely offered to veterans of previous wars.

Negative reaction is behind us now. Yes, additions eased some of the hurt. In 1984 the Three Soldiers Statue was installed as if gazing at the names on the wall. And in 1993 the Vietnam Women’s Memorial gave honor to the women medical and support personnel that served in this first war without a defined “front line”.

Like a black stone mirror 58,195 names stretch in front of a visitor. According to a friend searching for her brother’s name it was similar to approaching a church altar. A sense of reverence, appreciation, and love combined to ripple through her body.

My travels have not taken me to Washington, DC since the dedication. I’ve made do with visiting one of the three Moving Wall replicas that tour at the invitation of veteran and civic groups. There, with the aid of the index books, I located the names of two young men which graduated from the same small high school as I. I can picture the younger of them now. He moves on the basketball court, dark hair swishing on his forehead as he propels his slight, agile body through the larger players.

Honor.  Remember.  Learn.

One response to “November 13, 1982

  1. The little village sixteen miles from your home town lost one to death during that war. He was enjoying R & R in Australia and died in a hotel fire. Two others were called by townsfolk, walking wounded. The town stayed clear of the older one when his temper flaired. I remember his as handsome. His Native American blood etched in his face. The second, my age, is in a VA hospital psychiatric lock up, lost. Many young men came back to live in the community, scarred, but able to live successful lives.

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