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.
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.
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