The V.F.W. Post 4298 of Dexter, Maine brought the Moving Wall Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Mass Vigil Society Banners to Ellms Field. The wall is a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. It displays the names of 58,000 women and men who gave their lives or remain missing in the Vietnam War.
The Mass Vigil Society Banners carry the names of military members killed in action during the Persian Gulf Wars; Desert Storm, the Iraq War, and the Afghan War.
Many local businesses and volunteers helped in the effort to bring these symbols of America's honor and recognition of the men and women who served and sacrificed their lives for our country. Ellms Field was transformed into a fitting backdrop for the display. Over 3,500 people visited the site from May 11 to May 15.
A group of Vietnam veterans built this traveling replica as a way to share the power of good they experienced attending the dedication of the monument in Washington on Veteran's Day in 1982.
Like the memorial in Washington D.C., the names are listed on the wall, arranged in order of the casualty date. The names on the west wall are right justified. They line up to the right side of each panel, contrary to our usual way of displaying text. I find this a bit unsettling, as if part of the wall is saying to us, honor these people, find healing here, but do not be comfortable with the sacrifice of so many.
To find a name you must consult a book that provides the panel number and the line number. Volunteers helped us find Paul E. Sudsbury, a Corinna resident who died serving in Vietnam on August 10, 1966.
He was a PFC in the Marine Corps. The link in Paul's name above will take you to his page on the web site of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. A plaque in Paul's memory dedicates a newly planted tree in his honor near the Corinna Veteran's Memorial.
The original Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. is made of highly polished black granite. As I stood to see the names my reflection looked back at me from the depth behind the words. It was an important part of the experience. This replica is made of black aluminum. It has a similar effect. You see yourself behind the names of so many we honor for their service.
Thank you to all who helped bring this important symbol and its lessons from our history here for us to see.