The Wall Still Touches All
The Gladstone VFW Post 10906 recently supported The Wall That Heals when it came to North Kansas City, Mo.
The event was very successful, engaging the veteran and Vietnamese communities in the area. Post Commander Mike Poland and Quartermaster Joe Liles tell us about the experience.
Poland first heard about The Wall That Heals in 2010 when it came to Blue Springs, Mo. For the 2012 visit, Poland, Liles and other VFW members put up posters and fliers in local business, handed out card sized fliers and visited other veterans organizations in the greater Kansas City area to promote the event. They also used a large truck as a rolling billboard and parked at various businesses before the visit.
Poland is a Vietnam veteran. The Post does funeral honors and serves as the Missouri State Color Guard and also support veterans in other ways. He said he knows from personal experience how healing The Wall That Heals can be.
His wife convinced him to visit in 2010, but he was apprehensive.
“It was very emotional for me, but I am very glad that I went. It gave me some closure,” he said. “I felt that given the opportunity, I should do anything I could to bring that same opportunity to as many Vietnam veterans as I could reach.
The Post put together a newspaper that was handed out during The Wall That Heals visit to North Kansas City and sold advertisement space in that paper. They have donated the $5,000 profit to VVMF for the Education Center at The Wall campaign. The Education Center will highlight the stories and photos of those names on The Wall and also feature items left at The Wall since its dedication in 1982.
They believe communities should host TWTH to aide in the healing process for Vietnam veterans and also to help educate younger generations. Poland said he spent one morning during the event giving a history lesson to a 9-year-old boy who had no knowledge of the Vietnam War.
For Poland, he wasn’t comfortable touching TWTH, he didn’t want to get too close to it.
“But a lady came to find her loved one’s name on The Wall and she needed my help getting to The Wall and then touching The Wall,” he said. “So, inadvertently, I also touched The Wall. It was an incredible moment for me.”