The Vietnam Moving Wall – Hatfield, PA


Unknown Mami
Our community had the unique opportunity to have replica of the Vietnam Wall, The Moving Wall, on display at American Legion Post 933 this past week. This project took months of preparation and fund raising. The Moving Wall is required to be open to the public 24 hours/day, so you can imagine the amount of volunteer time just to staff this undertaking for the 4 1/2 days.

Maybe to some, this does not seem like a big deal, but I grew up during Vietnam, and my brother was killed in Vietnam. If you have read my blog over the past month, you know that I have been sharing letters and pictures that Robin sent home during his tour in Vietnam. This “project” was spurred on in anticipation of The Moving Wall’s arrival.

In research I have done while sharing these letters, I realize that over 40 years later there is still much pain, physical for some and emotional for most, endured each day for the veterans from this era. It was an unpopular war and these brave fighting boys and men, were not welcomed home by parades and yellows ribbons, more so they arrived home to protests and picket signs.

I have actually been to to visit four times. I am not sure if I will get back there today before it closes and moves on to it’s next destination as I have to work and it is a rainy morning.

During my visits, there were of course couples and families (I was so thankful to see many families with children who for them the war is just history), but also lone men. Many wearing caps depicting them as Vietnam vets, some in their motorcycle leathers with patches that identified them as a vet, and some who just stood and stared at one panel in particular for a long time in silence. Surely remembering a comrade, friend or family member.

I visited with my mother on Friday evening, my sister, mother and I went on Saturday evening to see it in the dark with the lights illuminating it, I went for a quiet solo visit Sunday morning and I took Tara yesterday evening. I used to visit The Wall in Washington DC weekly during the five years I lived nearby, and my mother and sister have seen it as well. All though this is a scale replica, the emotions are still the same. It is quite overwhelming to see all of the names etched on the wall.

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My sincere thanks go out to all the members of American Legion Post 933 in Hatfield, PA, and other local veteran groups, and everyone who volunteered their time. Also those who helped in fund raising and helped by financially sponsoring this event. I had hoped to be be able to help in some way, and regret that the craziness that has been my life the past couple months did not allow me to attend a planning meeting.

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Nita

A few years before my husband passed away we had the opportunity to see the moving wall while it was in Sioux Falls, SD and I do have to say it was very emotional. It was our first time seeing the wall and I am thankful to those that made it possible as my husband had three uncles and two cousins listed on the wall and that was to be the only chance he had to physically see that their sacrifice would not be forgotten.

Margaret Almon

Wayne I went to see the traveling wall when we lived in Illinois. It is a sobering sight. A volunteer asked if we were looking for a particular name, and I suddenly felt like an intruder into private grief, and even more sobered by all the names and all those who loved them.

Martha

Margaret, from one who has a name on The Wall, I invite and welcome all who want to visit and remember. Not in particular one name, but all of those fallen.

Thank you

IntenseGuy

Those statistics in the last image are staggering and make me stop and wonder about more than a few things.

I was in a Lansdale business the day the Reporter came out, and the paper was on the counter where 3 guys were looking at the photo on the first page and:

Guy 1: “What did this country get out of this war?”

Guy 2: “Not much.”

Guy 3: “Nothing but tons of pain.”

…and I thought to myself, “That seems to sum it up pretty well.”

…and today, a while later, I still haven’t a better answer.

Martha

Maybe because it is personal to me but I think that this war more than any other seemed in the end to have no point.

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