band of brothers

Traveling Wall

Last night I stumbled upon The Traveling Wall. This half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC is in Nashville for the week. I slowly walked the full length of it, overwhelmed by the sacrifices of so many.

“Did you find all the names you were looking for?”

I couldn’t see him, but I followed his voice across the wet grass. As soon as the four older gentlemen came into view, I knew…

I shook their hands, looked them in the eyes, and told each one how grateful I am for their service.

Traveling wall

They invited me to join them, so I sat down between John and Wendell and listened as they reminisced. John had been a medic in the war, and grew emotional as he described some of the things he’d witnessed. “I will never forget those children’s faces…” His voice trailed off as he looked away and just stared at The Wall.

There was a lot of solemn silence in our 30 minutes together.

But there was also sweet laughter, talks of fishing trips, jokes about the helicopter overhead, and the kind of adorable flirting only grandpas can get away with. (“Come to the fair in August, and I’ll treat you to a plate of concession food on me!”)

It was moving and wonderful and such a gift…

When I finally said goodnight, I walked away humbled and grateful for my short time with this band of brothers.

Traveling Wall

Comments

One Response to “band of brothers”
  1. Mark Allman
    @
    says:

    Alece,

    Our son Levi was a Ranger in the Army. Prior to his report date he wanted to visit the Pentagon, Ground Zero, and that Pennsylvania field all from 9 11. So we drove all those places before he went away. We also saw The Wall. Very moving. We even found an Allman on it.

    War is hard and is hell on both those that serve and their family and friends. I felt when Levi signed up he signed us all up. We are thankful that he came home safe and sound in all ways. It hurts to hear people who are not thankful for our sons and daughters who served or are serving in protection of our country.

    For those who willingly put themselves in harm’s way day in and day out I am forever grateful.

    I am glad you went to The Traveling Wall. Thanks for sharing your visit.

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