Posted: Aug 20, 2012 10:07 AM by Tara Oster - KPAX News
Updated: Aug 20, 2012 10:09 AM
MISSOULA- The half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. has been traveling around healing the country one state at a time, and the 250 foot long wall stood in Memorial Grove near the Adams Center for the past few days for Montanans to come and pay tribute.
Etched in metal on The Wall That Heals are the names of the 58,000 soldiers who lost their lives in the Vietnam War and some family members have placed flags and personal messages in honor of their loved ones.
"The wall heals and the wall helps us deal with Vietnam and helps us pass on our experience to the next generation," Dan Gallagher with American Legion Post #101 said.
Missoula Mayor John Engen spoke on Sunday to all the young faces in the audience and says this wall is also important to them.
"The value is to remember and to learn and to recognize the service and sacrifice of the many people who came before us," Engen said.
Gallagher added that the significant number of young people who visited the wall was maybe the most unexpected, but rewarding part for him.
"To see these young people here looking at our history, understanding what the soldiers and the veterans went through and at the same time understanding American History and being able to feel the personal touch that goes with war. That was really important to me."
Gallagher says the wall has a lasting impact for veterans, connecting them with the past.
"[We] really feel the emotion and feel the wall touching us back as we touch it, but you know, it's...healing is an ongoing process. And so the veterans who are here and the families of veterans who are here; they still grieve. There are a lot of tears that are shed."
He added they will still continue healing for the rest of their lives. The Wall That Heals is being disassembled and sent off to its next destination, Oregon.