7 powerful quotes about the impact of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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A veteran stands in silence while looking at the items left at The Wall on Memorial Day, 2017.

 

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial stands as a fitting tribute to the men and women who sacrificed their lives during the Vietnam War. As of Memorial Day 2017, 58,318 names are inscribed in the polished black granite walls. Visitors come here and see themselves reflected in the names of the fallen and many feel compelled to leave offerings. This is where comrades and loved ones bring the weight of their sorrow and others begin their quest for healing.

For every person, a visit to The Wall can evoke a different experience.

Seven people share what it meant to visit The Wall:

 

  1. “You can hear how many men and women gave their lives but when you see the Wall with all their names it really becomes real and makes an impact on you. I love the way everyone has reverence while at the Wall which shows the love of all these patriotic men and women had. Being able to touch our loved ones’ name help bring closure and help us to be able to move on.” -Nancy H., California

 

  1. “I went to The Wall. I saw those names I did not want to see. My legs buckled under me. I could not stop the tears. Seeing those names made me realize I did not believe they were lost in Nam, even though I was there to witness it, until I saw their names inscribed on The Wall. That experience I will never forget. I thank my friend for making me go. So long ago so fresh in my mind that place called Vietnam. Rest easy my brothers, rest easy.” -Mark S., Massachusetts

 

 

  1. “My first visit to The Wall was in the 80’s, when I was 12. My Dad and I walked along the sidewalk in the dark, in the hush, in the stillness of nighttime in DC. I was moved and so sad that each name was connected to a man, a life not lived, a family not raised, a girlfriend left grieving, friends left adrift. And I cried that night. I had only just seen Platoon, and my connection to the film was that Elias was on that Wall, at least in spirit. And I grieved…” -Nikki A., Connecticut

 

East panels of The Wall - Michael Brennan

The east panels of The Wall (Photo/Michael Brennan)

 

  1. “I visit the wall and my experience was that tears began to come from my eyes because I look at the names of my brothers and sisters. I became overwhelmed because it was only by the Grace and mercy of God that my name was not on the wall. My prayers go out to all the families that names are on the wall. As I write this, tear[s] come to my eyes. John 14:6 says, ‘Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.’” -Melvin T., Pennsylvania

 

  1. “I have visited the Wall twice, many years ago. It of course brought tears for all those we lost to that awful war, which I was able to watch on the evening news, to my horror. I don’t think any of us who lived through it have ever been the same. It also brought a sense of peace to me that these people were getting some recognition for their sacrifice.” -Sarah H., New York

 

  1. “The first time I went to the wall years back, the one thing that I noticed was how quiet it was. I had been to all the other monuments and people were talking and laughing and taking pictures but it was so different at the Wall, it was just silence. It was almost as if people were on hallowed ground and they knew if they were ever going to be respectful this was where they were going to do it. Maybe it was the over 58,000 names that they seen etched in the granite or the enormity of the Wall, I don’t know but it by far was magical to me because I could go up to my brother’s name and not have people laughing around me, it was as if it were just him and I there. Things have changed since my first time there, seems to be more people but the one thing that has not changed is the quiet and the solemn faces of all who walk past the 58,000 names.” – Renee D., Michigan

 

  1. 11 Ron Knosky & Otto“I visited the wall and found a classroom friend, Ronald Knosky who was killed in 1967. He was a sweet, funny guy, also known as Goosey. It brought tears to my eyes as I remember his wake and funeral. He was only 21. I touched his name and wish[ed] him peace.” – Nancy C., New Jersey

 

If you want to share a Wall story, submit it here.

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