“All gave some, some gave all.”

The above quote in the title of this post is attributed to Korean War veteran and Purple Heart recipient Howard William Osterkamp from Dent, Ohio. In honor of Veteran’s Day this coming Thursday, I am straying from my usual type of post to write about the Wall that honors the Vietnam War vets.

Back in 1977, I spent a long weekend in Washington, D.C. On the plane trip home, I realized I should have allotted a few more vacation days, as there simply wasn’t enough time to see all the usual tourist sites, let alone the Smithsonian Museums. I always told myself I’d return to Washington, D.C. someday, but as time marched on, (even more quickly as I’ve gotten older), I know there are other bucket list venues I’d like to visit first.

So, when “The Wall that Heals”, a traveling Vietnam War Memorial, was slated to be in nearby Riverview (Michigan), I seized the opportunity to visit that exhibit in case I never made it back to D.C. The Wall is 3/4s of the size of the permanent Wall that was built in 1982 in Washington, D.C. This is one of two replica Walls that travel around the U.S. The other Wall replica is called “The Moving Wall” and has been crisscrossing the U.S. for two decades. Like the original Wall, this exhibit was open 24/7 with lights lining the top, so people were able to pay their respects at any time.

The stats are staggering.

The Wall honors the more than three million Americans who served in the U.S. armed forces during the Vietnam War; unbelievably, there were 58,276 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam and each and every one of their names is listed on the Wall (plus 5 – there are actually 58,281 names on the Wall). There are 140 numbered panels made of Avonite, a synthetic granite and those panels are supported by an aluminum frame.

Some more stats …

160 Medal of Honor recipients on the Wall
42 sets of brothers on the Wall
3 sets of fathers and sons on the Wall
8 women, all nurses, on the Wall
16 Chaplains on the Wall
15 years old, the youngest service member on the Wall
62 years old, the oldest service member on the Wall
22 years, 9 months old, the average age of service members on the Wall

1,500 service members unaccounted for
246 casualty deaths in one day: January 31, 1968
400,000 items left at the Wall
704 names on the largest panel; 5 names on the shortest panel

Service Branches on the Wall:
65.6 % Army; 25.5% Marine Corp; 4.4% Navy, 4.4% Air Force and .01% Coast Guard

I arrived early on Saturday morning, August 14th to avoid the crowds, but truthfully I needn’t have worried about a jam-packed event, because I had no idea how large this outdoor exhibit really was, a truly sad reminder of just how many American lives were lost in the Vietnam War.

As was the case here in SE Michigan for a significant portion of the Summer and Fall, the ever-mischievous Mother Nature had her way with the Wall memorial site, providing still another torrential weather event, yielding 2.73 inches of rain Wednesday into Thursday morning and then she added a stormy night for good measure. Over 3/4s of a million DTE customers in SE Michigan lost power which messed up many of the traffic signals enroute to the event.

It was the third day in residence for the Wall and the field was still soggy, (mostly muddy but straw was strewn over the muddiest areas), but that didn’t deter attendees from pausing to reflect and remember, many with tears in their eyes, or openly weeping, some placing flowers or a flag at the base of a particular segment of the Wall.

The Wall memorial was at Young Patriot’s Park in Riverview, Michigan. I’ve been to this park before. It has a small pond and fountain, though the pond is more ornamental and without waterfowl. A heron happened by and was spooked by my presence and took off.

Young Patriot’s Park has a small circular walking track, but its main attraction is not the water feature, nor perimeter path, but instead is known for the permanent patriotic display to honor the City’s fallen heroes from all factions and in various conflicts. Brave service personnel are honored here, not only by the Fallen Soldier statue, but also in the path of memorial bricks, each bearing a fallen service person’s name.

Here are some photos of the permanent memorial at this park.

As I pulled into the park, it was stunning to see rows and rows of flags flapping in the breeze. The flags circled the small pond and along nearby Sibley Road and up and down the area leading to the memorial which was NOT within the confines of Young Patriot’s Park.

I parked the car and gazed into the distance. I could see the Wall stretched forever. There were many booths where you could see and hear info on the Wall and there was a display of artifacts from the Vietnam War.

I saw many Vietnam veterans wearing hats that identified them as such and there were volunteers to answer questions. The Wall is organized so that there are three panels to indicate the three deadliest days in the Vietnam War. Some of the deaths were noted as to those who died from their injuries after returning home. I am glad I stopped by as it was quite moving. A few veterans locked arms and were weeping and I misted up seeing them. I am old enough to remember the Vietnam War, though none of my friends served. Two neighbor boys were wounded, but both survived. I originally intended to use the Wall pics for Wordless Wednesday, but at the last minute put everything in one post, so if you’re still here, thanks for hanging in here until the end.

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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46 Responses to “All gave some, some gave all.”

  1. Anne says:

    Goosebumps and tears.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      It was very moving Anne – it was so sad to see people with tears in their eyes, but more heartbreaking to see the men locking arms and weeping. That really got to me.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Prior... says:

      I think you did a fine job of making a hearty post Linda
      And think you made the right call to not separate the wall pics

      And my favorite part was
      The way you let us feel the many
      “flags flapping in the breeze.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Thank you Yvette – it was so solemn at the memorial site. Everyone was respectful, silent and the men crying really made me feel sad. I did wrestle whether to make a separate post as all the statistics I laid out were gleaned from photos I took of a huge banner that bore those stats. I took a lot of photos and intended to intersperse the stat photos with the Wall photos, but the photos were kind of raggedy looking, overlapping stats, etc., so I just typed them out. I liked seeing those flags as they snapped to attention in the breeze as it made the display seem more poignant.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. peggy says:

    This post was so interesting to me, because my brother-in-law was a Korean veteran. You have done an excellent job with this post. It does bring back memories and tears.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Peggy – I am glad you liked reading it. The images of that long Wall and all those names certainly gives you cause to pause. When I began working at the diner out of high school, we had a Korean War vet who came in several times a day. His name was “Joe” and he had worked there at the diner in high school mopping floors and doing other odd jobs. He went off to the Korean War and was shell-shocked while there. He had some serious problems in that he would wander along the main street in the City, all day long and stare into space while walking, so my boss let him come in and we would give him a cup of coffee each time. He had been a good employee and it upset my boss what had happened to him. In those days smoking was allowed and Joe would smoke a cigarette, take two puffs and crush it in the ashtray. He’d go through a pack of cigarettes, buy more at the cigarette machine, light one up and leave. He did this every time. He’d be back in a few hours … I felt badly for him – it was just an existence, nothing more. He was hit by a car crossing the main street and died on impact.

      Liked by 1 person

      • peggy says:

        Such a sad story about Joe. I know war does a lot of bad things to the men and women that serve. My brother-in-law would never talk about the Korean war. I assumed it had been a horrible experience for him.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, my boss would always shake his head after he left. Joe did not talk at all – he just stared into space and smoked. Very sad situation. A neighbor’s husband served in Korea and came back home with no physical injuries, but had no clue who his wife or daughter were, no any other members of his extended family. I am sure you are right about your uncle Peggy. War is a terrible thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I didn’t know there was a traveling exhibit. I saw the original in Washington DC early on. Viet Nam is the war of my time. I have classmates whose names are on that wall. Although I didn’t lose anyone close, I wept when I saw the names. War is such a waste. This was an incredible idea for a monument. Actual names are better than statues of generic servicemen. Now I will keep my eyes open for the traveling one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I didn’t know either Kate, then they advertised it was going to be in two places in Michigan and one was near me. They had some fanfare at Elizabeth Park (where I often go to walk) where a convoy was there to escort the truck containing the portions of the Wall. It was a solemn occasion and when it was set up, they had a person playing “Taps” on a bugle. That would be sad – that song brings me to tears. I had a good friend in college who served and suffered from PTSD. This was a great way to memorialize these servicemen (and women too). I just went on the site and they don’t list the 2022 schedule yet, but there is a contact me page, so you could probably inquire there. https://www.vvmf.org/The-Wall-That-Heals/

      Like

  4. Those are some pretty sobering numbers. Seeing all those flags and the Wall stretching on forever, I can see how moving the experience must have been, and then to see some of the veterans weeping together. My memories of the war came from the TV news my father was watching every night, often during dinner. Kind of the backdrop of my childhood. I didn’t know how to comprehend what was happening as it seemed so far away. But having this memorial helps to illustrate the losses and bring them home in a profound way. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Barbara. I am a little older than you, but can remember hearing the news on at dinner time as well, plus the headlines in the newspaper of the casualties which seemed like every single day. My classmates were not old enough to join but I do remember the talk in the neighborhood when young men, just a year or two older than me, were injured and sent home. They did not return for another tour. This is a nice way to remember the fallen and the enormity of the loss.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. One thing I have observed over 45 years of watching wildlife is that they all compete for territory, food and mating privileges. All the animals compete……including Homo Sapiens.
    We’ve made a science out of killing.
    The only other animal that wars are Chimpanzees and they usually devour one of their enemies on the spot!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Laurie says:

    What a moving tribute to our fallen service members. The statistics you quote are sobering, to say the least. Thanks for this very poignant post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked this poignant post Laurie. It was truly overwhelming to see the display of 58,000+ names on the Wall and realize each represented a person who was killed. It was even sadder to see those men locking arms and weeping. We have a local Vietnam war veterans chapter here and I wondered if they had formed that chapter and were missing local buddies or perhaps just overcome with emotion.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wars destroy so many bonds, so many lives. We need to go far beyond wars. But that seems not the case so far…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Eilene Lyon says:

    Very well put, Linda, with lovely photos, too. I have not been to the memorial in DC or the traveling ones, but someday I will. My husband served a tour, my father did two, my uncle went early in the conflict, but died in a car crash after returning stateside, only 20 years old. War is such an ugly way to resolve conflict, especially now that old men send young ones off to do all the dirty business.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Eilene – it was very moving to be there and see the enormity of the display of lives lost. Seeing it in a news story is not the same. They had a huge banner with all those stats on it so I photographed sections of it to use in the post. You do have a lot of associations in your family that served and I am sorry for your uncle who died such a horrible death after being in the war and seeing those atrocities. We had a local servicemen with a similar story – he served in Operation Desert Storm, finished his tour and was riding his motorcycle and killed by a drunk driver, a sad and senseless tragedy. I looked at the site and they don’t have a schedule for the Wall for 2022, but you could check back another time or do a “contact me” to see if it will pass through your state down the road: https://www.vvmf.org/The-Wall-That-Heals/

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I didn’t realize there were two sets of the wall that travel about. That’s really wonderful. I enjoyed your visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Anne. I didn’t realize it either until I read the story in the local newspaper and they gave a link to learn more about the organization that sponsors the two Walls. They had a lot of fanfare to escort the hugh truck that carries the pieces of the Wall and upon completion a man played “Taps”. I am glad I went and glad you enjoyed reading about it. I had more pictures but worried it was too long.

      Like

  10. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda……………………………I really liked your post about: “The Wall that heals”……………………thank you for your thoughtfulness on such an important and relevant tribute right in our “own back yard.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Ann Marie – it was such a nice tribute to the Vietnam servicemen and war dead and I was so glad I went. It was supposed to come to Riverview last year but did not due to COVID.

      Like

  11. What a heartfelt tribute to so many men and woman. You did a great job Linda.🇺🇸

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Joni says:

    Wow, that was interesting, especially the stats. I had no idea so many lost their lives. I also didn’t know there were traveling exhibits.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Joni. The stats were amazing to me too. They had a big banner that had all those stats on it so I took photos of the various categories. I originally was going to use those photos, but decided I would just type the stats out and it would be more interesting, if not amazing, that way. I didn’t know that many people lost their lives either and I wonder why I didn’t know as I was old enough to have heard it on the news or my parents discussed the war and death totals. It was very sad and moving, especially the men weeping together at the Wall.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        My memories of Vietnam are very vague as we weren’t involved in it, and as a young teen I didn’t pay much attention to the news back then, other than seeing the protests on tv and the draft dodgers coming to Canada. I did have a young Michigan cousin who was either drafted or signed up, but I think he served in the navy for a short time, and it might even have been before the US entered the conflict. He only did one short tour of duty, but he was 15 years older than me, so I don’t remember much about him. I did stay up late and do Reader, but not tonight! Another beautiful day today – I hope Mother Nature keeps them coming.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        After responding to your comments, I’m stopping – Reader tomorrow first and I’m blowing my edict of getting at least seven hours of sleep. We had neighbors with sons who were injured so that made it a bit closer to home. I had a college friend who had served in Viet Nam and was going to school on the GI bill. He had seen a lot of action, was a sergeant and mentioned it once and said he never wanted to talk about his time there. He had suffered with PTSD.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Linda, I appreciate your posts about veterans and memorial sites! I haven’t had anyone close to me go to war, so it feels far off, but have family and friends who lived through the Korean war. Thank you for sharing your insights, information, and observations. It renews my gratitude for freedom and for the countless people who served and serve our country.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked this post and the others Esther. I knew a Korean War vet who returned home shell-shocked and used to come in the diner, day after day and sit there for hours. He’d buy cigarettes, take a few puffs, then stub it out. He’d come in several time a day and walk up and down the main street in the City. He had worked there as a clean-up boy while in high school and my boss let him just come in and sit there as he felt badly for how things turned out. He was hit by a car and killed. It is sad for both sides as to casualties.

      Like

  14. Aw, Linda, what a beautiful post and very informative too. Thank you for taking the time to put it together for us to read.

    Liked by 1 person

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