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  • 25th Wall reunion

    Anybody going to DC in November?

    http://www.vvmf.org/index.cfm?SectionID=1

  • #2
    I went there once, it was December '85. My wife (also ex-Marine) and I visited "The Wall" as part of the usual tourist bit.

    I didn't know how I would feel when I got there. Having been vilified by my civilian contemporaries for years because of that war and having had friends lost over there.... couple that to my utter contempt of the political machinations over that war or what it did to my country, not to mention Viet Nam..... I really didn't know what to expect of myself.

    I arrived at the short (early) end of the wall, one's first impression is the fact that this extensive monument is representative of all those who have died. You hear the number, 58,000 (plus change), and it is just that, a number. (Unless one has an emotional involvement.) It does not strike you exactly how big a number it is until you look down the length of that wall, in awe, and note that one can only look down half the distance, for that same distance is replicated at the apex of the wall.

    Next one is struck by the significance of the design, at least how I interpreted it. The color, black, was significant, as it represents death and mourning. The next thing that hits you is that the whole wall rather looks like there was a great upheaval of the earth, as in an earthquake, and the ground was rendered asunder, one side rising to reveal the wall. This is significant in that I have always believed that my country was so rendered asunder by that war that all American History subsequent to that war will be affected by that turning point. Lastly, I was struck by the utter desolation the entire scene seemed to depict. (This was before the statues were up.) That desolation so representative of war in general.

    I started "trooping the line". Already a bit distressed, I didn't know how I would feel when I would reach the names of some of my friends. I toyed with the cowards way out, don't try to find them, just keep moving. Before I got too far, Spring '66 was upon me and I searched for the names. I found Mike first....... it all came back...... the pain, the great sense of loss.... the utter devestation, the hopelessness. I couldn't breathe, I was being strangled, I completely "lost it". My wife, understanding, got me out of there.

    As one travels through life, the psychologists tell us, we tend to try to bury "bad" memories in deepest dark corners of our minds. There to simmer in relative obscurity so that we may continue our lives in a reasonable manner, not haunted by those memories to the point where we become disfunctional. Some handle that type of trauma better than others and what characteristic traits allow that "ease of transition", I do not know.

    I only know that I could never face "the wall" again. The memories are still there, just as poignant as they were fourty years ago, but it is better for me, anyway, to keep those memories non-material rather than having one's senses bludgeoned by that pathos evoking monolith.

    So, for all you Vets: Definately go see "The Wall" at least once in your life, I leave it to you to decide if you can "handle" a return trip.

    Grognard Gunny
    USMC (Ret.) RVN: '65-'67, '72
    Last edited by Grognard Gunny; 04 Oct 07, 08:36.
    "The will of a section rooted in self interest, should not outweigh the vital interests of a whole people." -Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain-

    "Fanatics of any sort are dangerous." -GG-

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    • #3
      There was a painting making the rounds a few years ago depicting a fiftyish man in a suit, the coat is off and being held at his side and he is wearing a vest. He is at "the wall", facing it, the hand not holding the coat is placed on the wall, high up as if bracing himself against the wall, his head is bent in sorrow.

      "In" the wall itself, as if a ghostly reflection, and facing the man in distress are a number of younger looking people, wearing combat gear, a nurse is in there, others...... An obvious "grunt" is at the head of the group of "spirits" and he is reaching up and out to touch the hand of the man in distress, as if on the opposite side of a pane of black glass, as if to say "It's OK, Man. It's OK."

      When I first saw that painting, I was drawn to it, like a moth to a flame. I stared at it for what seemed like hours. "That's me!", I thought. "God help me, it's me!" Then, I reflected, that's not really me, but a generalized me, along with thousands and thousands of other Vets that picture represents.

      I couldn't bring myself to purchase a copy of the painting for the simple reason that I could not afford to have something that emotion evoking staring at me from the wall of my home every day. I have enough bad dreams.

      GG

      But, "it don't mean nothin', not a thing"! (Phrase coined by Viet Nam era troops and used to asuage fears, repress horrors and generally attempt to make light of negative aspects of combat duty. Generally understood amongst Vets to really mean the exact opposite.)
      "The will of a section rooted in self interest, should not outweigh the vital interests of a whole people." -Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain-

      "Fanatics of any sort are dangerous." -GG-

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Trung-si View Post
        Anybody going to DC in November?

        http://www.vvmf.org/index.cfm?SectionID=1
        I may stop by. I've been there a few times and worked at the travelling wall in St Louis when it came through. I've been asked to go up a few times to help prevent vandalism -- as you may have heard the wall was vandalized recently (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...091700973.html) which is a pretty sorry thing, if you ask me.
        Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
        Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


        "Never pet a burning dog."

        RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
        http://www.mormon.org
        http://www.sca.org
        http://www.scv.org/
        http://www.scouting.org/

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Grognard Gunny View Post
          There was a painting making the rounds a few years ago depicting a fiftyish man in a suit, the coat is off and being held at his side and he is wearing a vest. He is at "the wall", facing it, the hand not holding the coat is placed on the wall, high up as if bracing himself against the wall, his head is bent in sorrow.


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          • #6
            Well Spoken, GG

            God, you write well on this subject, GG! --enough to zap me back from my present cubicle in Dilbertville to my previous visits to The Wall while living in the DC area. Although I was a REMF, there are experiences and powerful forces from that war that have burrowed deep down inside, only to well up spontaneously, still today, undiminished in intensity.

            The first visit was in the rain, alone, at a distance, on purpose. Another time, the lady who is best known for her appearance in the famous photo as a young girl, fleeing in terror from the napalmed village, was speaking to us gathered vets with such dignity, charity, love, and redemption that I was stunned. Another time, with my wife, I made it half way up the street north of the memorial before it overtook me - I grieved for them, for having not been able to realize the fullness of life as I had.

            I agree, it is important that every vet visit - at least once.
            www.RadioVietnam.net

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            • #7
              Thanks, Guys.

              Boonie: Yeah, that was the one. I see that I didn't quite remember all the details correctly. It had been a couple of years since I had last seen it, and I don't go out of my way to, as you might surmise from my above posts.

              GG
              Last edited by Grognard Gunny; 04 Oct 07, 11:45.
              "The will of a section rooted in self interest, should not outweigh the vital interests of a whole people." -Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain-

              "Fanatics of any sort are dangerous." -GG-

              Comment


              • #8
                Damn, that is one powerful picture, nuff said!!!!!

                D1
                "War is hell, but actual combat is a motherf#cker"
                - Col. David Hackworth

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Trung-si View Post
                  Anybody going to DC in November?

                  http://www.vvmf.org/index.cfm?SectionID=1
                  Sarge;

                  Appreciate you putting up web site link up there. My son is getting ready to go into the Army in November. Think that I'll apply to read a couple of my poems up there and have him see the wall with me. One last adventure as a father with his boy before he becomes a man.
                  Last edited by Trailboss49; 04 Oct 07, 17:58.
                  "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

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                  • #10
                    I'll be there with you in spirit TB. I'd love to read some of your work sometime if you so choose.
                    "War is hell, but actual combat is a motherf#cker"
                    - Col. David Hackworth

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DeltaOne View Post
                      I'll be there with you in spirit TB. I'd love to read some of your work sometime if you so choose.
                      I think I managed to send one to your mailbox on this forum. I'm not much of a nerd so there's always the distinct possibility it didn't make it to you. Let me know if you will.

                      I have been told that I have some talent. I am always a little sceptical because of those folks who have 'friends' who tell them they can sing, try to get on the "Idol" TV show and only show how really dumb they are. I don't want to end up like one of them.
                      Last edited by Trailboss49; 05 Oct 07, 17:46.
                      "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Your stuff is real good. I am sure that it would touch others vets deeply as it did me.

                        "War is hell, but actual combat is a motherf#cker"
                        - Col. David Hackworth

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