Veterans Reconnect in Harrisonburg with The Wall That Heals

Thousands came to visit The Wall That Heals in Harrisonburg, Virginia over the weekend of April 20-23. Some had never been able to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. and for the first time found the names of their fellow troops on the panels of TWTH.

Some took the chance to again reflect on the service of the millions of Americans who came before. The 250-foot replica of the original memorial on the National Mall travels nationwide with an accompanying museum to allow more veterans, friends, families and the general public to learn about the Vietnam War, those who served, and most importantly – to remember.

ImageIn Harrisonburg, high school students searched for names on TWTH with ties to their school and the area. A bugler dressed in Navy whites played taps during the opening ceremony. Several area leaders from veterans organizations participated in the opening and closing ceremonies and also volunteered throughout the weekend. TWTH is open 24 hours a day to allow a constant vigil of remembrance.

Girl Scouts from Brownie Troop 251 also came to visit in preparation of their trip to Washington, D.C. this summer. They searched for the names of all eight women listed on The Wall.

Magical events and stirring moments are common at The Wall, whether here in Washington or wherever TWTH visits. The recent stop in Harrisonburg was no different. We were touched by the story of two men who saw each other for the first time in more than 40 years during a chance visit to the mobile display.

Tommy Bridgman went to Turner Ashby High School with Wayne McDorman. Bridgman left school to join the Army in 1967 and was sent to Vietnam with the infantry 1968-69. McDorman graduated and joined the Air Force in 1971. McDorman was injured in the AF and is now a disabled veteran. He is pictured below, in the motorized chair, during the opening ceremony in Harrisonburg.

The two men hadn’t seen each other since Bridgman enlisted.Image

They both returned to Rockingham County after their military service. At the Harrisonburg site, they reconnected, swapped stories and were glad to be at home with fellow veterans.