Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Moving Vietnam Wall visits Oregon

Last week, Mike and I spent 3 days volunteering at an event we will never forget.  One of the replica Vietnam Walls that constantly tours the country, came to Milwaukie, a town near us in Oregon.  I heard of the event through Oregon City CERT, who had heard about it from Milwaukie CERT.  I then recruited many members of my DAR chapter to volunteer.  I am really proud of my DAR chapter and the number of members who answered my call.

The moving wall that came to Milwaukie is half the size of the actual wall in Washington, D.C.  That is nice because then even short people can see all the names.

It was set up at one end of the football field at Milwaukie High School.  Here is a panoramic view.  Click to make it bigger.  Mike and I are in the matching red "staff" shirts.

Over 3 days, Mike worked 24 total hours as security and as first aid.  I worked 14 hours at the name lookup table.  The names are not in alphabetical order, and you can use a website to find name locations on the wall.  I helped people do that.

Sometimes it was faster to look up manually in a book

This picture was taken by the newspaper The Oregonian
Here are some more photos from the event.  This one below was at the 'soft' opening ceremony on Thursday at noon.  Every day there was a ceremony where we read names of Oregonians and fired salutes.  I don't really like the loud salutes.

I saw three Vietnamese people on opening day. One of them is in this photo below.  He is now U.S. Army and he was guarding the wall.  He's in the back, in uniform.  He previously served 4 years in the South Vietnam army.  I guess he's been in the military all his life.

We collected names of Oregon City fallen, for a later project

About 6000 people attended over 4 days.  That was a lot less than we had hoped for.  But it was still worth it.  People left flowers, photos, and letters at the wall.  I saw quite a few MIA bracelets.  I had never seen one before.  The most moving story was from a Milwaukie citizen who had been a military recruiter back in the day.  There are 14 Milwaukie boys on the wall.  He said he knew all of them.  He was very emotional and I was grateful that I could be there and show him respect.  If he were the only person who attended the event, it would have been worth it.  That Milwaukie citizen needed to come to the wall.

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