by Morgann Couch/Staff Writer
Photo Caption: Juniors Rita Aguye-Cots, Anais Burgoa Zeballos, Evan Todd, Noah Dudley, and Eliza Hawkins take a picture with Vietnam Veterans Bob Workman, Mitch Pendlum, Ralph Sweet, Frenchie Legere, and Doug Good who spoke to the junior class at GCHS on April 4.
November 1, 1955 is a date that some say is the beginning of the Vietnam War. Although there is still debate over when the war actually started, this date is the earliest day that qualifies soldiers who died in Vietnam for formal remembrance on the Vietnam Wall. The Vietnam war ended in 1975, with approximately 58,320 U.S. military casualties. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall displays the names of those men and women, soldiers and nurses.
This wall, built in 1982, is meaningful to many people, including families and fellow veterans. But some are unable to travel to it, so a model of the wall and an education center were built to travel around the country, beginning in 1996. This is called the Wall that Heals. On July 11-14, Greenfield will host The Wall that Heals.
With the wall coming soon, people have begun to talk about it, and excitement is rising. Ms. Lisa Kraft is a junior English teacher whose students study the Vietnam War. She commented on the wall traveling to Greenfield.
“Greenfield is in the center of Indiana, which is in the center of the US. This is a very centrally located spot,” Kraft said. “There are many veterans in this area and Greenfield is a very accessible town. Also, we are a welcoming and patriotic town as well.”
Mrs. Krysha Voelz, also a junior English teacher, said, “It is important to many because it is very important that we help heal the damage that this country did to our Vietnam Vets. By having a traveling wall, those vets who have not been able to see it in person in Washington, D.C. will be able to have the experience. This is very valuable. Anything we can do as a nation to help these men heal and to show them the value that we have for them needs to be done.”
Paul Elsbury, 11, who worked on The Things They Carried project about the Vietnam War, said learning about the Vietnam War and its veterans is important. “People should know the impact the war had (both on American soldiers and the civilians in Vietnam).”
Aaron Fish, 11, who also did the junior project, said people should know about the many men and women who lost their lives in the conflict, and the families who had to live without them.
Samuel Jennings, 11, commented on what he thought people should know about the Vietnam War. “A lot of people didn’t understand the Vietnam War in general and still don’t. Many families could bring their children to this memorial and maybe explain Vietnam to their children to help better understand America’s history. Many schools don’t even discuss Vietnam so this memorial could help to educate the public and its future.”
Alijah Lewis, 11, said it was important that the traveling Vietnam wall come to Greenfield because “there were people who sacrificed their lives to be brave enough to fight for this country. They did a lot to keep the country protected.”
The Wall that Heals is reminder that as Coach Holden used to say in class, “They go and risk their life so I don’t have to, not for me, but instead of me.”