Last week the Moving Wall was at International Park in Toledo. The Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a model of the memorial in Washington, DC, includes the names of every soldier killed during the Vietnam War. For those who have seen the memorial in Washington, and for those who had never experienced the stark black wall etched with 58,253 names, it was indeed a moving experience.
The Wall was escorted into Toledo by an honor guard of a thousand motorcycles. Throughout the week visitors streamed through the exhibit that was set up along the riverbank of the Maumee River. At the Wall on Friday Vietnam era vets were gathered in clusters sharing memories, honoring their fallen comrades, talking to visitors and visiting exhibits that were part of northwest Ohio’s Vietnam Era Veterans Appreciation Week.
“We want to recognize and honor the service of the men and women who answered their nation’s call-those that served in Vietnam as well as those who served in other capacities,” was the mission stated for the week.
The Wall and exhibits and some ceremonies were open for the public to express their support and long-overdue respect for those who served in a war that defined and divided a generation.
Other events were exclusively for Vietnam era vets, for spending time with each other sharing what only other vets could understand about serving during war and then returning to a nation that was troubled and confused and often did not honor their service.
Flag formed from the handprints of Vietnam Era veterans honored at the Vietnam Era Veterans Appreciation Week opening ceremonies.
Perhaps the Vietnam Era Veterans Appreciation Week in some part helped with the healing of those who served and those at home.
For more information on the Wall, go to www.themovingwall.org.
For veterans’ support services in Ottawa County, contact www.co.ottawa.oh.us/veterans or 419-898-2089 or800-610-8872.
Ottawa County’s sons listed on the Wall:
1 LT Thomas Henry Carstens, Port Clinton
SP4 James Michael Davenport, Port Clinton
MAJ Clyde Wilson Enderle, Port Clinton
PFC David Michael Kesterson, Port Clinton
LCPL William Laurence Matthews Jr., Port Clinton
SGT. Glen Allan Millinger, Oak Harbor