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Letter: Sympathize with efforts of Vietnam veterans

To the editor,

It was an overcast, gray afternoon at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, Ga. The sun was trying to break through the cloud coverage while my friend and I walked to the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

I soon realized the there was no sound or noise, all was silent. I had seen pictures of the National Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., but I had never seen all the names up close and personal. There they were: name after name, panel after panel, for what seem like a mile.

The experience was humbling and shook me to the core. When I returned home to Grand Forks, I thought a replica wall or memorial should be done within our community.

Now I am not naïve — in an era of cutting costs, saving every penny, state and federal cutbacks, and political discord, where would the funding come for such a project? That is an answer I don't have.

I feel it is important for our younger generation to understand and learn from our past. One quote that has stuck with me states, "During the Vietnam War, soldiers fought a fierce enemy in what was to date America's longest armed conflict. Through grueling conditions of climate and terrain, these great soldiers fought with the same skill and determination as their comrades of past wars. For many of the returning battle-weary veterans, the homecoming was silent and often painful."

Maybe the moral victory of those names on the wall would be to treat servicemen and servicewomen better and sympathize with their efforts. Let that be their epitaph.

Michael Rood

Grand Forks