Through both my personal and military business travels, I have been extremely fortunate to go to Washington DC several times. Most recently earlier this spring. I always seek out the memorials honoring our wars, and did so on my very first trip with my mother in 1985, before I had joined the military.
That year, the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall had been constructed the year before. On that trip, I was asked by a childhood high school friend, “Heh find my dad’s name. He is on there somewhere on that wall.” My friend was raised by his grandmother, and I always asked myself why he had not been raised by his parents. With that prophetic request, I now knew why. He had never talked about it.
Like I said from the beginning, I have had the great fortune to go to Washington several times. In 2011, I finally got to see the WWII memorial which had heretofore not existed. There are many people in Humboldt County who have never gone, nor will they be able to go and see that very powerful Vietnam Memorial Wall. Many of those are Vietnam veterans who did survive, and lost their buddies, and would be no doubt brought to tears by seeing those names. (I have visited the grave of a fellow soldier from Afghanistan at Arlington, and I know how this effects you.)
Many communities are full of folks who cannot make it to Washington DC, sometimes for physical reasons, others purely economic. Therefore, countless replica walls have been built and they travel to communities all around America. Humboldt has been visited by one such wall, but it was over 30 years ago. I personally have officiated at countless Vietnam veteran funerals/remembrances in the past year and a half such that it is obvious, we are losing that generation of great heroes at a far earlier point in their lives than the WWII and Korean generation. The power of seeing those names and finally getting respect is truly a cathartic healing process for all those involved. I am 48 years old, so I am too young to know the horrific way our returning Vietnam veterans were treated. I have only read about it in History books, but one thing is clear, that America can and will never do that again to its servicemen and women. They were merely following orders and doing what they were told, and fighting for their country, like my friend’s dad. The Vietnam Memorial Wall is the best healing process to reverse that shameful treatment.
I recently got to participate in the unveiling for the first ever time here in Humboldt, of the Global War on Terror Remembrance Wall, by giving the opening remarks. This wall is inspired by the Vietnam Memorial Wall, and lists all casualties of the GWOT. While there, I stood next to former AMVETS POST 96 Commander Mark Sanchez, and heard him say that he was committed to bringing the “Wall that Heals” back to Humboldt. Mark tragically had only 12 more days to live when he uttered those words to me and his fellow veteran friends. Mark was proud of the GWOT wall coming here for the first time, but he also knew that we needed to bring the Wall That Heals back. Now that Mark has passed, it will be up to his friends, fellow veterans and veteran’s supporters to make his dream a reality. Mark first made the request of the Honor Guard to participate in the GWOT Wall, when I bumped into him at the Republican of the Year Dinner in March. For more information on the Wall that Heals, please check out the following website: http://www.vvmf.org/. We need to raise approximately $12,000 to bring the Wall That Heals back to Humboldt. To make your donation:
Go to ◼ www.giveforward.com In the upper right go to ‘Find a fundraiser’; Type in ‘Vietnam War Remembrance Wall’; Click on the site set up by Dean Glaser, AMVETS Post 96 Commander OR go to a direct link at ◼ http://gfwd.at/1iv4bLo
Information: Dean Glaser: 707 725-3880.
By LTC Allan L. Dollison, USAR