Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall opens in Parkersburg
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall held an opening ceremony Thursday at City Park in Parkersburg.
The Vietnam Memorial Wall is said to be the largest traveling wall in the country and is an eighty-percent scale replica of the monument in Washington D-C.
Over 58,000 Americans died in the Vietnam War and have their names displayed on the memorial wall.
West Virginia suffered the highest casualty rate in the nation.
Vietnam veteran Bill Shepherd says his generation of veterans are setting an example for service members following in their footsteps.
“I recently attended a reunion for the first calvary division and today’s soldiers looked at us and said you set the bar so high we can’t even get there; that’s what we did. Everyone here is proud of what they’ve done. We have nightmares, we still suffer but we did we were called to do.”
Vietnam Veterans did not receive a hero’s welcome when they initially returned home.
Shepherd shares a story about an incident involving himself and a group of soldiers at the airport.
“A bunch of hippies verbally accost us, and we said fine just go on about your business. But then they spit on me and well, that changed the whole thing. They all ended up on the floor, the police were called, and they were going to arrest us. I told the police officer that’s fine but before I go, I’m going to spit on your uniform and see how you like it. He said you do, and you’ll be on the floor. I said there they are, leave us alone. He said they spit on you? I said yeah, see that spot right there, it’s still there. He said go catch your airplanes boys.”
The memorial wall is on display for 24 hours each day until its departure at noon on September 17th.
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