Cross Posted From Article of Faith:
I’ve never been to the Vietnam Memorial in D.C., but yesterday I had the chance to visit The Moving Wall, a 3/4 replica of the memorial which travels around the country.
It turned into a rainy, cool afternoon yesterday here in Athens by the time I got out to Evergreen Gardens to see it. A vet told me when I walked up that I missed a spectacular Friday and Saturday night before, with clear skies and a full moon over the back-lit memorial. But somehow, a dank and cool drizzle felt more apropos to the occasion.
As the names of the dead were being read in the background, I walked the length of the wall with my kids, my oldest wondering why there were so many names written on it, and me being unable to explain it in any coherent fashion. All my youngest wanted to do was pull a flag down and take it home.
As I carried him and walked along, I wondered if there would be a similar wall built one day honoring those who have perished in Iraq. I kept thinking of John Kerry’s words from last spring, as I stood in front of the massive replica, “Half of the service members listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall died after America’s leaders knew our strategy would not work. It was immoral then and it would be immoral now to engage in the same delusion.”
It was bone-chilling, frankly. Half…I stood at the middle of the replica as the mist thickened and looked at half the wall. Half those guys died and ended up on this wall long after the political ingrates realized the cause was lost. Ingrates like “Dr.” Henry Kissinger, architect of the failed last years of the Vietnam War, and advisor/architect of the failed policy in Iraq right now.
Another vet I was talking to yesterday mentioned a 21-gun salute, not for the dead on the wall, but “the 21 guys who died last week in Iraq.” I counted 21 names on the wall to get an idea of how many that might represent, then stared at the little box of names. Stunning.
Props to the Vietnam Combat Veterans organization for their work. I look forward to seeing the permanent wall one day in D.C., but if you’ve never seen or been to it, this moving replica is quite an experience. More so now, probably, than ever before.