Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

In Faribault: A Willow Street welcome honoring Vietnam War vets August 31, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 9:12 PM
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Vietnam Wall Memorial processional, #72 group by my house

 

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.

 

Vietnam Wall Memorial processional, #4 drawing flag with chalk

 

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.

 

Vietnam Memorial Wall processional, #1 woman waiting with flag

Across the street a woman waits for the processional to begin.

Three American flags, spaced evenly along the boulevard, lifted occasionally in the breeze on a stunning August day here in southeastern Minnesota.

Leading the way...

Leading the way…

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.

 

Vietnam Wall Memorial processional, #16 back of beginning

 

I saw honor in the lengthy lines of bikes, cars and other vehicles, in the waves, the American flags…

 

Vietnam Wall Memorial processional, #19 watching

 

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.

 

Vietnam Wall Memorial processional, #25 jeep

 

Vietnam Wall Memorial processional, #29 red jeep with wall sign

 

Vietnam Wall Memorial processional, #30 row of bikers

 

Vietnam Wall Memorial processional, #32 trike

 

Vietnam Wall Memorial processional, #34 back of 2 bikes

 

Vietnam Wall Memorial processional, #40 bikes and flags

 

Vietnam Wall Memorial processional, #46 biker & POW flag

 

Vietnam Wall Memorial processional, #49 biker waving

 

Vietnam Wall Memorial processional, #50 bikes

 

Vietnam Wall Memorial processional, #57 Vietnam vet on bike

 

Vietnam Wall Memorial processional, #58 red car

 

The Traveling Wall arrives in a trailer near the end of the processional.

The Traveling Wall arrives in a trailer near the end of the processional.

Volunteers will be setting up the wall on Thursday morning at the fairgrounds.

Volunteers will be setting up the wall on Thursday morning at the fairgrounds.

The trailer and accompanying vehicles continue north on Willow Street.

The trailer and accompanying vehicles continue north on Willow Street.

 

Vietnam Wall Memorial processional, #71 vets van

 

Vietnam Wall Memorial processional, #76 utility vehicle

 

Vietnam Wall Memorial processional, #9 American flag in chalk

My friend’s teenage daughter chalks a message of thanks on the sidewalk in front of my 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

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16 Responses to “In Faribault: A Willow Street welcome honoring Vietnam War vets”

  1. Timmy Wunderlich Says:

    Awesome pictures

  2. This makes me so proud to be an American and so honored that my dad, his brothers and my cousins served and fought for this country. Thank you to all that serve our country – you deserve to be thanked, respected and honored! Thanks for sharing – loving the captures of the action of the procession. Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  3. treadlemusic Says:

    Just reading this brings tears to my eyes as I recall my ride from La Crescent that day many years ago. You are so correct…….the overwhelming emotion of being a part of something bigger than oneself cannot be conveyed but MUST be experienced! It is with great pity, I read such ‘news’ articles about an NFL player refusing to stand for the National Anthem……yet, the response has been appropriate and causes me to pray for all of us who may take this great country for granted……that was “bought” (and is “being bought”) with the blood of so many dear souls. Thank you for this important post!!!!!!

  4. […] the sidewalk fronting my Willow Street property,” Audrey Kletscher Helbling writes on her Minnesota Prairie Roots […]

  5. Littlesundog Says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Audrey. Your photographs had me feeling like I was right there… a wonderful, patriotic feeling.

  6. Wow this must have been something to witness and participate in


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