Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Vietnam wall replica arrives in Faribault today with opportunities to honor & heal August 31, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Many Vietnam veterans attended the ceremony.

I photographed this Vietnam veteran during a ceremony at Faribault American Legion Post 43 in July 2013. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

VIETNAM WAR. Those two words can create angst in those of us who remember that turbulent time in our nation’s history. Unrest and protests headlined media coverage. Veterans found themselves returning to a country ungrateful for their service. They were shunned, neglected, disrespected.

But today, with decades since the end of that war and with an aging population of Vietnam veterans, thinking has shifted and we as Americans recognize the need to honor these men and women who served and those who died doing so.

The Harley dress code: black leather.

Bikers will be among those escorting the traveling wall from Owatonna, through Medford and into Faribault between 3 – 4 p.m. today. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

This afternoon in my southeastern Minnesota community of Faribault, the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall arrives under escort for a several-day stay at the Rice County Fairgrounds. For those living along the route, like me, this presents a public opportunity to pay respect. I hope Faribault residents and others will show an enthusiastic and honorable patriotic welcome as the motorcade proceeds through town. Click here to see the specific processional route for the entourage, expected to arrive here around 3:30 p.m. today.

I hope, too, that many will visit this 80 percent replica wall of the original memorial in Washington, D.C. It will be open 24/7 from Thursday afternoon through early afternoon on Labor Day. I am certain seeing the thousands of names thereon will make a powerful personal impact.

A young boy peruses the pavers honoring veterans at the Rice County Veterans Memorial in Faribault.

Pavers at the Rice County Veterans Memorial in Faribault honor Vietnam and other veterans. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

There is hope also among local organizers for healing as written in their mission statement:

To offer veterans and visitors an opportunity to experience both an educational and healing experience, and offer an important historical contribution to the understanding of our nation’s history.

Healing is possible, even decades after the Vietnam War ended.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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4 Responses to “Vietnam wall replica arrives in Faribault today with opportunities to honor & heal”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Praying that healing can take place for all who attend . What a moving tribute. I would be in tears I am sure.

  2. Sue Ready Says:

    Yes you are so right those were turbulent times and even if one did not agree with the politics of the time men and women who served did and still deserve recognition for their service. I recently had a cousin die from effects of war called agent orange. Such a double whammy for him who went to war not because he wanted to but because his draft number came up. Then for next decades the residuals of war remained with him both physically and mentally.I hope the public embraces this public opportunity to pay respect. I was not even aware this traveling memorial wall was in MN. Thanks for alerting the public.

    • I am so sorry for the loss of your cousin, whom the Vietnam War impacted is entire life. How could it not and especially with exposure to agent orange?

      I’m preparing my yard for this afternoon’s processional. Randy staked three American flags in to the boulevard before leaving for work this morning. And I have several other items to set out. A family friend will be coming with her five kids and several other friends are also expected.

      Like I wrote in a previous post, anyone who knows me personally is welcome to join me this afternoon around 3:30 to watch the processional.


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