Friday, June 19, 2009


Our View: Wall is a fitting addition to Norwich events
It is an honor to play host this weekend to the traveling Vietnam War memorial

Norwich Bulletin
Posted Jun 18, 2009 @ 11:07 PM

Norwich, Conn. — There are more veterans per capita residing within Connecticut’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes all of Eastern Connecticut, than any other congressional district in the state. So, it’s no wonder there exists here a special relationship between communities and those who have served our country.

And it is fitting that Norwich, centrally situated in the region and celebrating its 350th anniversary, serves as the gathering point of this weekend’s tribute to all veterans — and in particular, those who died in Vietnam.

The Vietnam War claimed the lives of 612 Connecticut residents. To put that in perspective, consider this: Slightly more than 500 young men and women will be awarded high school diplomas this afternoon at Norwich Free Academy. If you’re attending today’s graduation, imagine if all those chairs — and then some — were empty.

Brought to Norwich

This weekend, the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, the traveling replica of the Vietnam Memorial that arrived Wednesday evening and opened to the public Thursday, will be on display and serving as the backdrop for events honoring all our veterans.

Norwich’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 594 and its Ladies Auxiliary are responsible for bringing the traveling exhibit to the city, a wonderful addition to the city’s anniversary celebration. On behalf of the region, we express our appreciation to them for their contribution. We hope that every citizen in the region take the opportunity to visit.

The exhibit is open to the public 24 hours a day through Sunday, with special programs slated throughout the weekend.

Beginning at 7 p.m. this evening, events will be held honoring World War II and Korean veterans, the Gold Star families of those whose names are engraved on the wall and a special POW/MIA program honoring those still missing in action.

As the sun sets this evening, 270 luminary bags will be lit, followed by a candlelight vigil.

EDITORIAL FOOTNOT: Many times when coming back from down south (Florida), I would stop in Washington D. C., I would go to the Vietnam Memorial (the Wall). It is black Granite, and you walk down into the ground looking at the wall. You feel like you are going into a grave or tomb. When you see the names, you realize that these were young American men who gave their lives for their country. The number of names is mind bending. It is disturbing.

I had two (2) really good friends who died over there. There names are on the wall.

One was William B., he was about a year younger than me, when I was out of High School for a few years, I used to stop every day at his bakery, (he worked in) and got donuts and coffee for my boss and myself. He was a younger brother of one of my friends, in high school. We became good firends. He died on a carco vessel that blew up in Saigon Harbor.

Another friend was John C., he was a year or two older than me in high school. A gifted athlete, a really nice guy that everyone liked and respected. He died in a fire fight in the jungles of Vietnam fighting the Viet Cong.

I watched with another tribal member and his father, as the parade traveled up Route 32, on Wednesday night across from a car dealer. I watched the runners running in their red, white and blue running outfits (shorts and tee shirts). Then we saw the motorcycles led by motorcycle police (two State Police and one Norwich Police Department). I saw the tractor trailer carrying the minature wall. There was several classic cars in the parade, too. It was very inspiring. It made you proud to be an American.

On Thursday, I went to Norwich, to see the wall. It took sometime but I found my two firends, on the wall. I was glad to be there to pay my respects to them. They have given the ultimate sacrafice. They died young men. They never had the opportunity to grow old. Thank you, my friends.

If you get the time, visit the wall in Norwich, and if you ever get the chance visit the real wall in Washington, D.C. To all the soldiers who have fought and who will fight, thank you. God bless you. What do you think?

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