Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

From Faribault: Visiting the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall September 4, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:51 PM
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Traveling Vietnam wall, #37 vet viewing wall

A Vietnam veteran, who was also serving as a guard for the traveling wall, studies the names thereon.

I DIDN’T EXPECT IT. But the tears came as I spoke with Vietnam veterans while touring the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall on Saturday in Faribault.

This photo in particular, among many on display, struck me.

This photo in particular, among many on display, struck me because of the soldier’s eyes and because of the words on his helmet.

It’s emotional—seeing the pain in eyes, hearing the pain in words, feeling the pain in silence.

An overview of the scene at the Rice County Fairgrounds Saturday afternoon with the wall in the background.

An overview of the scene at the Rice County Fairgrounds Saturday afternoon with the wall in the background.

If you live near this southeastern Minnesota city and have not yet viewed the wall, consider finding time between now and early Monday afternoon to visit the Rice County Fairgrounds.

The words and all those soldiers' names personalize the Vietnam War on the wall.

The words and all those soldiers’ names personalize the Vietnam War on the wall.

If you’re like me, this will prove a powerful, cathartic experience. Healing, for me, came in thanking several Vietnam veterans decades after they should have been thanked and welcomed home.

FYI: Click here to learn more about the wall’s presence in Faribault. And check back to see more photos from my two visits to the wall.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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10 Responses to “From Faribault: Visiting the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall”

  1. Valerie Says:

    We did go to the memorial last night and it was very moving. We were there for Taps at dusk.
    I wrote to five different guys in the military during that time and amazingly they all came back.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    I am sure I would have been moved to tears as well. It is such an emotional thing to think about all of those that did not make it back or who came back changed which would probably include every single soldier. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Dee Bjork Says:

    Audrey, I was a volunteer there and was able to experience a sense of calm today over the field. I was struck with emotion just watching the people walk the wall. Later I helped folks find their love ones location thru a computer program. It was difficult to tell them that their loved ones or friends died 10 days to 1 month from went they started in combat. Lots of them less than 1 year. What an amazing experience right here in Faribault. Thank you for writing about it and showing your beautiful photographs. It was very moving.

    • Thank you for volunteering at the Traveling Wall, Dee. I had hoped to do the same, but it just did not work. So, instead, I gave of my time in photographing the scene. I will have one more post showcasing what I saw. I can only imagine the emotional difficulty of sharing that information about friends and family.

  4. Sue Ready Says:

    A very moving tribute thanks for raising public awareness of this exhibit.


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