At the Wall

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, or as it is more commonly known, The Wall, is something one must see to appreciate. Approaching it, or looking at it from a distance does not do the memorial justice, and finding the name you seek can be distracting.

The best way to appreciate the wall, in OneOldCop’s experience, is to simply walk down to the wall and let the majest of it touch you. It is, in a much different way, similar to the experience of visiting something as vast as Glacier Bay, Alaska.

Upon arrival, the immensity of the bay is hard to comprehend. One looks at the surrounding mountains and glaciers. One sees the sea gulls and other birds in the water and on pieces of ice floating in the bay. It takes time for the immensity and magnificence to sink in. Once it begins, the excited voices begin to fade away and an awed silence takes its place.

The Wall can have the same effect. Visitors may ooh and ah as they recognize the size and dark beauty of the wall, but the immensity of the it soon sinks in. Looking one way, the Washington Monument points skyward, but seems to be little more than a sign post pointing to heaven. Visitors may chatter, reading names, looking for loved ones, or simply marveling at the 58,286 names inscribed on The Wall. A wall that is 493 feet in length, and a bit over 10 feet tall at the highest point.

As one stands, taking it in, voices will still, or one’s awareness of them will wane. Either way, there is a feeling of magnificence and stillness that grows the longer one contemplates the meaning of this place. After the peace, after the silence, after the reverence, then on can look for a name engraved on the wall. Finding the name, most will kneel or stand before it, remembering and experiencing the moment.

My words cannot convey the true feeling of standing in that spot. The feeling that envelopes one while reading the names of those lost to the ravages of war. Everyone’s experience will be different, depending on who they are and why they are visiting. I can however, share something with you that might give you a taste of that feeling. The link below is a tribute to some of the names on that wall, and their comrades who made it home.

More than a Name

© OneOldCop – 2017

About S. Eric Jackson

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