Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall now in Minden

Mark Bowers of Carson City imprints members in his Vietnam War unit on a piece of paper from The Moving Wall Friday morning at Eastside Memorial Park in Minden.

Mark Bowers of Carson City imprints members in his Vietnam War unit on a piece of paper from The Moving Wall Friday morning at Eastside Memorial Park in Minden.

When he and others were guarding the traveling version of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell said they found something that brought tears to their eyes.

“I’ll never forget when the moving wall came to Carson City,” the former Navy captain and Vietnam veteran told a crowd in Minden on Friday. “I had the honor to guard The Wall and one night we found a Silver Star medal with a note that read, ‘I don’t know if you ever got yours, but here is mine. Even today it is not hard to get teary-eyed when remembering that night. It says so much about the men and women who fought that war.”

He said the wall is a place for friends and families remember those who lost their lives in the war.

“It is a place for families to quietly grieve for the loss of their loved ones — a loss that never really goes away,” he said. “For veterans it is a sacred place to open and to possibly finally close on the scars of the war and to pay tribute to their friends and battle buddies who didn’t make it back.”

More than 2,100 of the names listed on the wall are missing in action or prisoners of war.

Carson City resident Deborah Woodall was trying to locate one of those missing.

Woodall said she has worn a bracelet with the name Marine Lance Corp. Edward J. Rykoskey Aug., 18, 1966, SVN printed on it for more than 30 years after adopting a soldier during the war.

As far as she knew, Rykoskey hadn’t been identified as living or dead.

“I’m going to see if he is on the wall and send the bracelet to his family,” she said. She also has friends on the wall she wanted to visit.

Genoa resident Marian Vassar was visiting for her brother David Bujalski, who died in combat in 1967.

“He died 10 days after being sent to Vietnam, leaving behind a wife and two children,” she said. “I believe God decided he did not want him to see anymore horrors of the war and that is why he died.”

The Vietnam Memorial Wall displays more than 58,000 men and women who served during the Vietnam War. All the names are on the moving wall.

“When you approach the memorial you don’t recognize what is going on and then you see the names on the wall and you are drawn in and the emotions pour forth,” said John Devitt, a former helicopter gunner and U.S. Army veteran who created The Moving Wall in 1984.

Devitt visited the original Wall in 1982 and was moved by the positive power The Wall provided him. He vowed to share that experience with those who didn’t have the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C.

Two years later, Devitt’s vision for a moving wall went on display for the first time in Tyler, Texas, in 1984.

Since then, the wall has traveled every year for 34 years, where it has been visited by millions of Americans.

“It is a reminder not only of the bravery of fellow warriors and the tremendous human cost of war,” said Crowell. “It is also a subtle, but powerful reminder for all of us that we must never again allow our military men and women to suffer for giving their all to serve our country.”

The wall is available for viewing 24 hours day through Monday at Eastside Memorial Park located at 1600 Buckeye Road, Minden,

A closing ceremony will be 7 p,m. Sunday at the park and the wall will close at 3 p.m. Monday.

For more information, 782-2215.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment