It wasn’t just another assignment. It was emotional, eye-opening and by far the most rewarding piece I’ve ever written.

It wasn’t just another assignment. It was emotional, eye-opening and by far the most rewarding piece I’ve ever written.

During the planning process of bringing The Wall That Heals to Blue Springs, it was determined that The Examiner would produce a special section, which is in today’s paper, that would give subscribers information about the upcoming event, as well as be available for visitors at The Wall. I will be forever grateful that I was asked to write stories about a time in history I knew very little about.

Even though my brother served in Vietnam, I’m ashamed to say it wasn’t a topic I gave much attention to, as it happened 40 years ago and I don’t claim to be a history buff. The reality of it is, it’s not history because the effects of this war are still engrained in the hearts and souls of those who served, those who lost loved ones and those who are still asking why.

Vietnam veterans who visit The Wall during this four-day event (Sept. 30- Oct. 3 at Pink Hill Park in Blue Springs) will receive a medal or lapel pin. They say “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans” and “From a Grateful Nation.” I can’t imagine and would never try to understand the emotions our military must have felt when they returned to their homeland, after being subjected to the worst possible conditions and not being welcomed or thanked for their services. Shame on us.

I hope it’s not “too little, too late” in the minds of these veterans and they embrace the respect of today and not the cruel actions and words of yesteryear.

More than 58,000 people – whose names are etched into the black granite stonewall – never had a chance to accept our thanks and honor. The Wall That Heals gives us the opportunity to pay our respects.

I will go to The Wall That Heals, not only to show my admiration for these fallen soldiers, but also to share in a time set aside to show our local Vietnam veterans we haven’t forgotten the sacrifices they made for our freedom.

 I want to walk down the rows and rows of names, of people I don’t know and cry for them, for their families they left behind, for their comrades who made it home – who still grieve for the person they used to be before they left for Vietnam.

It’s a time to recognize the loss of our brothers and sisters to a war that was fought 40 years ago, but it’s also a time to remember – we are a nation at war – today. Again, we watch the numbers increase day after day of those who are dying so that we can live in peace.

Do we stop long enough in our fast paced lives to recognize the lessons we were supposed to have learned from Vietnam?

See you at The Wall.