Viet Nam

Viet Nam Memorial in Angel Fire, NM
I’ve seen the Viet Nam Memorial wall in Washington DC, and now the memorial chapel in Angel Fire, NM. In Washington, the very air around the wall felt saturated with grief. People choked back tears. In Angel Fire I was alone, the only person there, and the emotional tone of the place seemed very different to me. Maybe I was just in a hurry and didn’t take time to sit in the chapel and let it soak in. Maybe I just rushed through the small museum . . .

Please use the photo or the title to write the first 50 words of your piece about “Viet Nam” in a comment.

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Author: Virginia DeBolt

Writer and teacher who writes blogs about web education, writing practice, and pop culture.

4 thoughts on “Viet Nam”

  1. “Veet Name”? my 8-year-old asked. “What’s a veet name? Is that like a nickname?” She had overheard a friend of mine who was over for coffee. We were discussing the upcoming visit of the traveling Viet Nam Wall.

    How to explain? Where to begin? This crucial chapter in the history of our country, of the world, relegated by time to a history chapter for those growing up now. She’d read something in her middle school text, no doubt, memorize a few dates for the test, move on. I wanted to make it real for her, help her feel the confusion, the anguish, the anger and fear of that time…

  2. Popular media doesn’t help much either, since there have been shows on TV declaring that the Holocaust never happened and the moon landing was a fake.

  3. I have visited the WWII and Korean memorials and the Viet Nam Wall. My father, Ernest McDonald, was a career fighter pilot in the air force and his name has just been entered into the memorial. My brother was career army and did three tours in Vietnam as a Huey pilot and came away as a hero with lots of medals including four Purple Hearts. This summer my family and I (including my 84-year old mom) will be visiting Angel Fire. The helicopter that is memorialized there is the one my brother, Larry McDonald, flew. He and his crew were honored there when the chopper became part of the memorial. With my background in a military family, the visits to D.C. were profoundly moving.

    Even more moving was when my dad died years ago and was buried in a national cemetery in Colorado Springs with a 21-gun salute and taps was played by a single bugle. There should have been a missing formation flight during his burial, however, the gas shortage in the 70’s prohibited that. Even more moving was when my brother died and was buried in Arlington. The casket was pulled by a team of horses with riders next to it. A riderless horse was led by one of the men and there was a 21-gun salute as well as taps being played.

    If you haven’t seen any of these things, you should try to visit at least one.

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