A DOZEN OF US GATHERED late Wednesday afternoon in my front yard to honor those who served and those who died in the Vietnam War.
As we waited for the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall to arrive from Owatonna, the adults chatted. And some of the kids chalked American flags onto the sidewalk fronting my Willow Street property.
Three American flags, spaced evenly along the boulevard, lifted occasionally in the breeze on a stunning August day here in southeastern Minnesota.
The Wall processional presented a great opportunity to honor these veterans. How well I remember the protests of decades earlier, the unrest and open hostilities expressed toward Vietnam vets. On this day in my community, in my neighborhood, in my yard, we gave them the respect they deserved. Whether or not you agree with the war matters not. Respect matters.
I saw honor in the lengthy lines of bikes, cars and other vehicles, in the waves, the American flags…
There’s something deeply moving about participating in an event like this. I can only imagine the emotions felt by the Vietnam veterans who today—from Owatonna to Medford to Faribault and in between—witnessed a warm welcome home.
FYI: The Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall opens Thursday afternoon at the Rice County Fairgrounds in Faribault. Click here for a detailed schedule of events from now through Labor Day. Check back for a follow-up post on a pre-eve stop I made at the fairgrounds.
© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling