Thursday, September 10, 2009

The American Veterans Traveling Tribute

Today Steve and I, his brother Germ and wife Sue went to New York Mills MN to see the Traveling Wall. The VFW Post 3289 at New York Mills had planned for this display to be in there in June of this year, but the Wall had been damaged slightly, and the decision was made to have a new one made, and spectacular it is.

Having been to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC and also seeing the Traveling Wall Memorial are both equally an emotional experience. The Traveling Wall is made of aluminum, and the Wall in Washington is black granite and is set partly into the ground, which signifies death and mourning; the center also rises above the surrounding terrain as a symbol of life, hope and resurrection. It is completely open on one side, and you feel like you are walking down into the wall, as the center of the memorial is 10.1 ft tall, and at center the two sides meet at a 125 degree angle, tapering down to both the East and West 246.75 feet long. Each wall consists of 72 panels; 70 with names and two very small, blank panels at each end. The names are arranged by date of casualty. The traveling wall is 80% the size of the granite wall and is just as amazing.

In 1989 I was in Washington DC and visited the wall with daughter Jessica and the group of 4-H kids that I was a chaperone for. We made a wall rubbing of a name of a soldier that I had been a high school classmate. At that time each kid had a name of someone their family knew that had been killed and they each made a name rubbing to take home. Jessica and I made two and when we got home, we delivered the paper to his mother, and spent the day visiting with her. Her only child had given his all for his country. She was so proud of him and was so grateful for us to have given her the paper with his name showing through the penciled rubbing.

Making a pencil rubbing in Washington DC 1989

Our visit yesterday to the Traveling Wall was just as emotional. I made another rubbing of my friends name, and Steve made one of a classmate of his. These rubbings will be kept in their memory.

There were other memorials there to honor all wars. The program was very good, with music provided by the New York Mills High School band and the speaker was a minister in that area. He was originally from out east, and his talk was about the Battle at Gettysburg. I would like to go back to see some of the other programs and hear the scheduled speakers. We were sitting under a tent at a picnic table. It was hot and we needed shade. Behind me sat two men with their walkers. They had their military hats with them, and stood tall when the color guard came by with the flags. The one gentleman had a very good singing voice when we sang the Star Spangled Banner.

Hopefully there will be good attendance at the special programs the VFW Post 3280 have scheduled. The Traveling Wall and other memorial exhibits will be in New York Mills, MN through Sunday, September 13th with programs daily at 11:00 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. They serve meals with all proceeds going to help support the Traveling Wall program. Make a day out of it. Learn some history. Visit with veterans. Ask questions. You'll be surprised how humbling it is to visit this wall. We talked to veterans that are there helping out. It is so interesting. They were glad we came and visited with them.

1 comment:

g said...

Thank you to the men and women that have served to keep us safe.