With everything going on this weekend, and a lot going on in my personal life, I wasn't sure I could fit everything in, but the main objective was to see the traveling Vietnam Wall. I have seen it before in other cities but it is just as impressive in our baseball field as anywhere else in the United States. I want to thank Ed Rapp for being the catalyst to get it here and all of the other volunteers who helped make this happen for us.
When I finally got there, after driving past for hours, I found I couldn't get much closer than the welcome tent. This was a reaction I hadn't had before and it took some thinking to figure it out but I finally decided it was part age, but mainly sorrow that if I stood back far enough I could look at 58,000+ names of my generation that never made it home and if I got close enough to read individual names I would totally fall apart. I asked Ed where the wall was going from here, and he said it's going home for a bit and in my mind I was saying, "No, they're not going home. They will never go home" even knowing what Ed meant.
I remember waiting for the mail and checking the post office two or three times a day for that letter telling me that everything was okay. With no email, instant messaging or skype that was the only connection we had to the people we loved and missed. Looking at the wall, I wondered how long their families waited for that letter before being informed their loved one wouldn't be coming back. Such sorrow.
I applaud the returning soldiers and sailors who arrived to the mess they had to go through. These young men went when they were called, served the best they knew how and left when they were told to leave, going on to become contributing members of society. Some had internal wounds that will never heal, some have physical wounds in the form of scars and some have health issues that are still being ignored but they survived. They had the other 58,000+ to live for and honor by going on with their lives.
The Wall is a reminder of the good and bad these young men had to go through to serve their country. I hope everyone had a chance to see it, feel it and really think about what it represents. And it is with deepest hopes and prayers that our country never has to commission another Wall. Every time I see it, I leave with the same whisper. " Welcome back with the honor and thanks you deserved and never got. Welcome back and welcome home."