Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall visits Breitung Township

News

A traveling version of the Vietnam Memorial Wall is in the U.P. for the next several days. When local 3’s Wil Hunter went to the Breitung Township Cemetery in Quinnesec for the story, the impact of the wall really hit home. Here’s his story.

Sobering. Inspiring. Fear-inducing. One word is not enough to describe everything packed in to that wall.  During my visit this morning to the traveling Vietnam Wall, somebody handed me a pamphlet. Inside it were names, ranks, pictures and hometowns of the local fallen. But what struck me most about this pamphlet were the ages. Twenty, twenty two, nineteen, eighteen.  In all, sixty eight percent of the names on the wall were under twenty two. Like Terry A. Wender from Iron Mountain. He died five days short of his twentieth birthday. Or Richard K. Lewis, of Escanaba. He was twenty. Or Gary M. Paul from Norway. He was nineteen. These were kids. I left home when I was eighteen….armed with a laptop, pens, pencils, notebooks. They were armed with helmets, fatigues, bullets and guns. I knew that when I got homesick, I could get in my car and drive home to see my parents. When they got homesick, they had to get up and fight. I went to sleep dreaming about my future. They went to sleep praying for theirs. These weren’t just people to be remembered. They were lives that didn’t get the chance to live. I took a step back to take in the wall one last time before I left. And it was breathtaking. Breathtaking. Maybe that’s the word that comes closest to describing the wall’s impact. It took my breath away. And everybody should have it do the same for them. Keeping it local in Quinesecc, I’m Wil Hunter, local 3 news.

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