Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Viet Nam War Memorial

It was the day after all the Memorial Day activities and there were a lot of props lying around the area waiting to be picked up--folding chairs, podiums, etc.

I could see the wall in the distance behind all the workers. Unlike all the other memorials in the area it does not stand out or grab your attention right away.
The crowds were pretty small by afternoon so I was able to take my time.

At some point about 15 years ago there was a bit of a brew ha ha about 'The Wall' and some feeling that it was not traditional enough to be a true memorial so money was raised and this 'more traditional' grouping of soldiers was placed in the same vicinity with the wall.

and the wall is truly stark in its simplicity.  The names on the smooth black slabs are grouped according to the day each soldier was killed or went 'missing in action'. The first slab has just a few names--but the names begin to grow in number.

Until it becomes overwhelming how many there are--58,272.

There are mementos on the ground in front of the slabs--left by friends, family and
fellow soldiers.

The note reads, "William Butch Grooms, You are not forgotten.  You live on in those of us who survived...Rick"

"For the boy that sang in no mans land"
Please notice how smooth and reflective the wall is.  It is a mirror capturing all the people walking so silently along the path.

I did not know there were Coasties in Viet Nam.  I am so glad the war was over when my son, Tom, joined the Coast Guard.

By this point on the wall there were so many names that it was hard to find a particular one.  This lady looked for quite a while before she succeeded.

"RIP.  We'll all be together one day...Ike"  
"We Gotta Get Out of This Place",  by The Animals

It is interesting to see what associations some people make to their loved ones.

And to know there are grandchildren they never met.

Finally, I came across these two guys.  They are part of the Rolling Thunder group and they were taking rubbings of some of the names.
I came across them again as I approached the end of the wall just as they were doing the last rubbing.  When they stood up they collected their things and then they hugged each other.  I was too close to take their picture at that point without interfering in their tribute--but it definitely was moving.  
The last name...I only wish it had been the last war as well. 


  1. It may not have been "traditional" but it certainly was powerful--walking down that wall and having it get taller and taller until it overwhelmed us just like the war itself did. I'm one of the lucky ones who's friends and family, including my husband, all came home. I decided not to read all the names for fear I would find out that wasn't true.

  2. Very moving. I've never been there, I have nobody I lost to that war, but being a child of the 60's/70's, it left its mark on us all. If I ever do go to the wall (and I hope to), I'm sure I will come completely unstrung Great pitures, really great series of pictures. Thanks for posting them.

  3. Hi Toni --I am a friend of Linda G. I grew up on the East Coast,from Daytona to Caribou.My father was born in DC ,mom in NC.I loved your take on our bar-b-que.I have been told it was an aquired taste. My brother & I have enjoyed your pictures of "home". If you get a chance, pick up a copy of the May issue of Yankee magazine. I am pretty sure it is still out as it has listings of most of the events taking place in New England from now until the end of August. If you go to NYcity you may want to take the bus tour as it goes all over the city. Then pick where you would like to go & visit.Enjoy

  4. Thank you all for the comments. Anonymous, I will look for that issue of Yankee today. Toni