The Moving Vietnam Memorial Wall

This weekend the Moving Vietnam Memorial wall (half the size of the original in Washington DC),  made a stop at the local American Legion post, Lockport American Legion John Olson Post #18. It will be open to the public at 151st Street and Route 171 until Monday afternoon.

If you miss it the tour will be back in the area in Orland Park October 1st through 5th.

I felt obligated to visit despite not knowing any soldiers lost in that conflict (but knew several that fought), because this was history and my late dad was an American Legion member (Dorrie Miller Post 915) and was a Navy engineer prior to Vietnam.

Plus my infant son needs to see it.

I saw the video when the wall arrived this past Friday morning with the military and police escort but walking the wall yesterday was different. I’ve never been to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC but my wife has.

This is truly a “moving wall”, both physically and emotionally. Its sobering to see the names of so many soldiers (including memorials several people set up), many about half my age who died for their country.

And I’ve been to Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in suburban Elwood several times for my father is buried there. And I’m always in awe and humbled by those great people interred there for what they have done for all of us.

So I’m always eager to pay respects to those whom paid the ultimate sacrifice.

And its more than just honoring a soldier or being grateful for our freedom.

Its what these people went through, my father saw the horrors of conflict at the end of his Naval time (The Bay of Pigs & Cuban Missile Crisis), he spoke of the stench of death and having bodies on the deck of his destroyer.

After my father’s passing I have his pictures, books and Navy memorabilia that he held so dear. His military time defined him and he was always proud of his service and strongly believed in supporting “those in uniform”, including the disabled veterans and those who didn’t come home.

My father believed in respecting all veterans from all services and times and maybe more so with those whom were in the Vietnam conflict, there was conflict here back at home and these veterans were drafted into this conflict. My dad was just older than those veterans and he knew of how it was not the same for them because of the politics of that conflict and pubic opinion.

I remember how happy he was for the Vietnam veterans when they finally got their welcome home parade in  June of 1986.

Its important that even for this unpopular defense mission that we pay respects to those who died fighting, even if you don’t agree what they were fighting for.

We’ve learned in the last 13 years about honoring our military despite the reasons they might be in conflict and not take it out on the people serving our nation.

Their injuries and deaths are no less important and need to recognized. Its not just about blind patriotism, this is paying respects to those “who gave all”.

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