The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

November 7, 2013

Letter: Visiting the Memorial Wall

ENID, Okla. — I wish to congratulate the people who made the Vietnam Memorial project possible.

I have names on panels that I carry in my mind and heart, like other Vietnam vets do, and it is very emotional for us.

I do understand a lot of work has been done, but for someone to make the statement, “If there’s a Vietnam vet that doesn’t come to the dedication, shame on them,” was upsetting to me. Bob Farrell, “shame on you” for making that statement.

Did you ever serve in a combat zone? Probably not. I did. My job was Tunnel Rat.

I am a Vietnam vet, and when I came home, we were shamed, called names, and “heroes” was not one of them. No parades for us. We were spat upon. Civilians and non-combat veterans do not understand us.

I understand Vietnam vets. It still lives in me after 40-plus years. There is no “getting over it” or “you need to get on with your life, the war is over.” Some of us have anniversary dates during the year. We remember people, places, smells and noises of our past. Some bunker up and when it passes, we find a way to survive.

In 2001, after Sept. 11, I brought the Vietnam Traveling Tribute to Enid for the first time and placed it in the David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

Some Vietnam veterans do not do well in crowds. They do come out after the crowds are gone and late at night, under the cover of darkness, when no one else is around. They visit with their fallen brothers and have private time with them.

Vietnam veterans will handle the coming of their Wall to this final place in their own way, not someone else’s.

Let us never forget them, the names on the wall and what they represent. They made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

John L. Daily,

U.S. Army retired Vietnam vet

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