I had thought I would write more about the entire experience of visiting Washington D.C. on Veterans Day, but that turns out to be a problem, because, despite having seen several memorials and having been dumbstruck by Arlington National Cemetery, I cannot get my mind off the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (a/k/a “The Wall”).
There are no spires, fountains, or dramatic figures on The Wall; just 58,261 names – the names of those who served, but who never got to come home. As I slowly walked past each of the many panels covered with names, stopping at most of them, it struck me hard that most of the people whose names appear on The Wall would have about the same age as I am now. I knew a couple of them.
It’s only because of life’s crapshoot and the mystery of how the military decided what each of us would do and where we would be assigned to do it that I was able to look at the names on The Wall instead of being one of them.
May they all rest in peace.