“On behalf of the service and sacrifice of all Vietnam Veterans, help us welcome the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall that Heals to Bristol in June. A little over fifty years ago, the United States sent troops to a small virtually unheard of country in southern Asia called Vietnam. It was a place in turmoil, enraptured in an on-going civil war between Communism and Democracy, and our nation sent the young men and women of that generation, most of which were the baby boomers, (children born to the previous generations of WW2 and Korean War Veterans), to stand in harmâ€™s way and defend the rights of those struggling to maintain their right to democracy and freedom. It was a very difficult time in America, and the war in Vietnam itself seemed to further fan those flames of turmoil and difficulty.
Many years ago, those brave men and women coming back from their duties in that far away land of hot, muddy jungles and never ending rain, returned home it seems to a nation tired of war, and a generation traumatized by the horrors of that war spilling out before them on the nightly news. Upon return, many of them were not greeted with a welcome of open arms and ticker-tape parades, but instead were greeted by animosity and disdain to say the least. This in itself is a shameful reflection of the unfortunate after-effects that far away struggle caused back here at home. We were a nation divided. We were a nation that seemed to have lost its patriotism and spirit, and those men and women returning were made to suffer because of it. It wasnâ€™t until many years later that our nation finally opened its arms to their return, and opened its eyes to the realities that those men and women in service to our country, did nothing more than what was asked of them during a time of war as the generations before them did as well. They were tasked to defend the freedoms of a people who could not defend it themselves. They were called to duty by our government and they performed their duty unquestionably. To their service goes a salute of gratitude and thank youâ€¦ to their courage goes respect, and to their sacrifice goes a never-ending prayer of sadness. Their generation lost more than 58,000 to that far away war, the majority of which were under the age of twenty years old.
Though the Vietnam War ended long ago, silent remnants of that war have continued to claim the lives of men and women who fought there, right up to this very day. The Travelling Vietnam Wall that Heals is a testament to the sacrifices of their generation. The Wall that Heals is a reminder to all of us as citizens of this great nation that we have a duty to honor these men and women, and in doing so, never forget those who selflessly wore the uniform of our great nation in the defense of our beliefs and our way of life. The names on the wall pay homage to all those that made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam, but one must remember that those that came home to us, carry a burden of their own sacrifices that have weighed heavily on them through these many years as well, both mentally and physically.
Here we are years later, and America has found itself again involved in an ongoing struggle throughout the Middle East, being fought now by the generation of children and grandchildren of those Vietnam Veterans and their generation. As a Marine Corps Veteran of this younger generation myself, it is wonderful to see that our nation found our patriotism again thanks in part to those Vietnam Veterans that were our parents, our grandparents, our aunts and our uncles that have instilled such a deep set pride in us for our military and those that serve. It is an honor for me, to be the nephew of three uncles which served in the Marine Corps during Vietnam, another that served in the Navy, and a cousin and his wife that both served as Army Doctors, as well as many other friends, family members and mentors who served during different times and branches in all capacities of the military. Some of those family members and friends that served in Vietnam are no longer with us, and it is in the honor that we have for all of them that I am happy to help bring this emotional piece of history here to Bristol. It is for all of them that I submitted my request to bring the Wall here over a year ago. I write this with the hopes that each and every one of you reading this can find the time to visit the traveling Vietnam Wall that Heals when it graces our Veterans Memorial Boulevard from June 9th to the 12th of this year. While there, take a moment to look around at all the monuments and know that they are all testaments to the men and women, veterans one and all, of all wars who served our city and surrounding towns proudly. Also, remember when you look upon the Vietnam Wall and the 58,000 plus names listed there, I ask you all to please never forget them for the sacrifices they made- ———– through that ultimate sacrifice, they never forgot all of us.
In closing, I would like to ask you all to join me first and foremost in thanking all our Vietnam Veterans and their families at this time, but also in thanking all our veterans and those still serving—- without them we would not be the United States of America, home of the free and land of the brave!”
Russ Trudel, Commander American Legion Post 2, Bristol, CT
Note to any interested *** If anyone would like to be part of this and contribute through time or donation in any way please feel free to contact Commander Russ Trudel at 860-585- 1715. They will also be holding a pasta dinner fundraiser to help with the cost of The Wall That Heals. The dinner will be held from 4 pm until 7 pm at the American Legion Post 2 (located 22 Hooker Court Bristol, CT) for only a $10 donation. There will be pasta, meatballs, salads, and desserts brought to you by the Korean War Veterans. The American Legion Post 2 has also started a Go Fund Me page to help support their efforts in making this a memorable and honorable event. To support their efforts click here. Your time and efforts will be welcomed gratefully.