Memorial honors fallen Vietnam War Veterans
By Kristina Hartz
The Wall that Heals traveling memorial was at Kutztown Park from Sept. 21-24. Members of the Kutztown Vietnam Veterans Breakfast Club stepped up to make it happen. The Wall that Heals is a memorial fund. Donations can be made on the Vietnamese Veteran website.
One hundred motorcycles, along with a police escort, welcomed the exhibit to the park last Wednesday.
The wall is a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and travels to communities throughout the United States.
The goal of the wall replica is to provide thousands of veterans who have been unable to cope with facing The Wall to find courage to do so within their own communities and allow the healing process to begin.
Among the many volunteers at the wall on its opening day last Thursday were Tim Haring (uncle of Keith Haring) who was in the Marines and Denis Petrie who fought in the Army.
“People are a lot more welcoming today than they were when the war ended,” Petrie said. Petrie recalled there were no parades or welcoming the veterans home as they returned in 1973.
“People say ‘thank you’ more. That’s neat, but [we] could have used that 50 years ago,” Petrie said. “So many kids lost their lives here. 58,281 names on this wall.”
Haring told a story of recently meeting a woman on the street who saw his hat and thanked him for his service. “That never happened before,” Haring said.
The wall remained in Kutztown Park until Sept. 24. Next, it traveled to New York City on Sept. 28 with the NYC Department of Veterans’ Services.