The Vietnam Traveling Wall
This Traveling Memorial came to Mountain Home, Arkansas, several years ago. My husband and I went to the designated location. What can I say? It was more than a reminder of the great sacrifices made during the Vietnam War.
This Wall is not like any other wall. It is a 3/5 scale of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. It is located outside where you can see grass and sky. Years after seeing it, I learned it stands six feet tall at the center and covers almost 300 feet from end to end.
Why have a wall as a reminder? Why not? Whatever it takes to help people heal and to teach Americans about our history. Seeing the wall was an opportunity and a time of reverence in our small town. I have never forgotten it.
Many of us won’t go to Washington, but most of us go into town.
Portable Vietnam Memorial Wall
and the whitest hour of day.
The long, shiny gray wall
carries names of men and women
who’d once stood tall, saluted the flag.
Many spectators drove
hours and hours to see the replica wall,
to finger-trace a name,
to grope, perhaps to find closure
of some sort.
No sidestepping a loss,
no sidestepping the sunshafts
now falling on the wall.
An official, using a loudspeaker,
reverently read the rank
and full names of soldiers
who’d fought and died for their country.
A whimper in the distance—untranslatable.
Tears, a way of letting go,
a proper finish.
— Pat Durmon
Memorial Day this year is Monday, May 31, 2021.
Photo of quilt hanging over the railing in her home taken by Pat Durmon, 2021.
Books by Pat Durmon