About “The Wall”

In 1968, we still believed, for the most part, that our country was right to be in Vietnam.  We were helping protect the world against communism.  At least in Oklahoma, we still believed.  My duty was to serve my country.  I still would.

At that age, I was still searching for myself.  (Yes, I know some people think I still am!)  But after spending the summer working, my cousin Ron Gifford convinced me I should join the Marines.  And in doing so, I did him a favor, because he got an extra 5 days or so leave because he referred me to enlistment!  🙂  At that time, I could enlist for a 2-year commitment, and I did.  Went to San Diego for boot camp, then on to Camp Pendleton for infrantry training, and artillery fire direction training.  Came home for a couple weeks, then back to California, and on to Vietnam.  By that time, our thoughts were not so much of glory, but fear and hoping to stay alive…

I did my year in country, and came home safe.  (By the way, I never gave much thought, I’m ashamed to say, about how this affected my mother – until my son, Ryan, was deployed to Kuwait a few years ago.)  A chapter in my life closed.  I never forgot my “tour of duty” but it did not occupy my thoughts either.

In 1992, we visited daughter Michelle in Indiana.  On the trip home, we detoured through Springfield, Illinois to see Abraham Lincoln’s tomb.  Glad we did, but in the same cemetery is the Illinois State Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  We had no ties to Illinois, but forgotten emotions came up, and I began to realize how much so many of us gave.  I came back, but 58,000 others did not…

The next year, we visited Washington, D.C., and The Wall – the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  To stand there, and look at the names, to listen to the silence, to see people “rubbing” a pencil copy of someone’s name, to see the momentos left behind, again I thought, “I came back.”

So, this photo.  Not a great job, but I believe I took it at the right angle – to see the 3 Servicemen watching the visitors at The Wall.

This photo was shot with film, scanned with a Kodak CD scanner.  Wish I could do it over with digital… and I may some day.

Today, I put a crop from this on my Facebook Timeline, and several people have already noticed it, “liked” it and commented.  This is my backstory.  Sorry to be so long-winded; hope you read this, and understand…

The Wall

September, 1993


6 thoughts on “About “The Wall”

    • Thanks, Janice. My military experience is something I’m proud of, but I don’t share a lot about it. And, probably won’t use this as a vehicle too much, but so many folks commented on FB, I wanted to share this…

  1. I’m really glad you came home! I missed you while you were gone and I’m sure Mom did too although she didn’t say much about it in front of me.

    I really like the angle of this picture. When I went to DC, we went to The Wall and I saw the soldiers, but I didn’t really see it from this perspective. Your photographer’s eye made the difference.

  2. Serving our country can be difficult. Some people make the ultimate sacrifice. The men and women whose names are engraved on that wall fought communist tyranny. Millions of people in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union owe their freedom to their sacrifice. Losing a loved one is sad but rest assured they did not die in vain.

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