To view more photos from Wednesday’s event, visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/centertech/sets/72157626699733144/
Vietnam Veteran Don Lair of Wayne County said at one time, he couldn’t bring himself to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. to search for the names of the men he served with in the U.S. Army whose names are forever etched in its dark surface.
“I finally forced myself to go find the names of my friends on The Wall,” he told a group of visitors Wednesday standing before The Wall That Heals, a mobile half-scale replica of the historical monument, which is stationed on the grounds of The Center for Rural Development through Sunday.
The experience, while painful, provided much-needed closure and a sense of healing, he said.
“When I found those names,” Lair, a member of Wayne County Disabled American Veterans, said, “something inside of me felt a little relief … knowing the names of my friends had been embedded in that granite.”
The names of Lair’s friends and those of more than 58,000 service members killed or reported missing in action from the Vietnam War are also featured on The Wall That Heals.
“Something about The Wall done a little healing inside of me,” Lair said.
Daily military observances in honor of Vietnam Veterans and all veterans who served and are serving their country continued Wednesday with a painful reminder of the price of freedom.
Bob Thornton, second vice, American Veterans, Department of Kentucky, said the pain of losing a loved one to war is unbearable.
“I think about the mother who lost a son or the daddy that never got to say goodbye to his son or daughter,” Thornton said. “It has to be crushing.”
Other upcoming noon observances include the posting of miniature American flags around the perimeter of The Wall by Southwestern High School JROTC students on Thursday, May 12, and the reading of the names of all 1,058 Kentucky service members on The Wall on Friday, May 13, by members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Pulaski Vets organizations.
The official closing ceremony for The Wall That Heals is planned for noon on Saturday, May 14, at The Center. Full military honors will be conducted by the Somerset American Legion Post 38 Honor Guard. The Wall will remain open on the grounds of The Center until 1 p.m. Sunday, May 15.
This is the only location in Kentucky where The Wall That Heals may be seen in Kentucky in 201.