Vietnam 'Wall' moves all

Thursday, September 20, 2007

We hope everyone who could, took the opportunity to visit the Vietnam "Moving Wall" at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds the past four days.

The impressive structure is a marvelous undertaking and a poignant reminder of the many valiant men and women who gave their lives for their country.

If anything, the wall made us remember friends and family who died in Vietnam, and brought both tears and smiles as we recalled some of the good times we shared with those loved ones in their tragically abbreviated lives.

There is a touching song written and sung a few years ago by little-known singer/guitarist Jamie O'Hara. It's titled "50,000 Names" and its emotional lyrics describe O'Hara's visit to the original Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C. :

"There's teddy bears and high school rings,

and old photographs that mamas bring

of daddies with their young boys playin' ball.

There's combat boots he used to wear

when he was sent over there,

and there's 50,000 names carved in the wall.

There's cigarettes and cans of beer,

and notes that say I miss you dear,

and children who don't say anything at all.

There's purple hearts and packs of gum,

fatherless daughters and fatherless sons,

and there's 50,000 names carved in the wall.

They come from all across the land,

in pick-up trucks and mini vans,

searchin' for a boy from long ago.

They scan the wall and find his name,

the teardrops fall like pourin' rain,

then silently they leave a gift and go.

There's stars of David and rosary beads,

and crucifixion figurines,

and flowers of all colors large and small.

There's a Boy Scout badge and a merit pin,

little American flags wavin' in the wind,

and there's 50,000 names carved in the wall.

50,000 names carved in the wall."

That's powerful stuff, folks. From the bottom of our hearts, we applaud the local veterans' efforts to bring the "Moving Wall" to Cherokee, affording us the opportunity to think about, appreciate, and never forget all of our war veterans and their ultimate sacrifice.