Traveling Vietnam Wall
I had the opportunity this weekend to visit one of the traveling Vietnam Memorial Walls. I have been to the real wall in Washington, but this was a 3/5 scale model in steel that gives a lot of people who cannot get to Washington a chance to check it out. There were ancillary exhibits that went with it, but it was generally a fairly quiet event. Too quiet in fact. Over 58,000 people lost their lives in Vietnam and 150,000 were wounded. Some 25,000 of them were 21 and under. They were kids. And there were maybe 20 people there. The vendors had very few visitors. Most of the merchants in Jupiter near the exhibit were closed (it was Sunday, but still). Even the band had only one person sitting and listening to the 60s tunes they were playing. Students from adjacent FAU were conspicuously absent. There were a number of Vietnam vets there eager to share memories and stories, many of which were great. But I really felt that this was a missed opportunity for a lot of people. WWII vets get attention, as they should, but sadly they are leaving us. Likewise Korean War veterans are passing on as well. Our next set of fighting vets are those in Vietnam, who were never greeted with the same fervor as WWII. Vietnam was the longest war we fought until that point and these guys just did the job they were drafted to do. It was a game-changing event in America. Go see the wall if you can and pay your respects. These guys will appreciate it after all these years.