Please allow me to share my thoughts with you today...
Twenty years ago, a young lady walked through a park and had a vision.
She envisioned something that would be one with the nature around it and
that would not make a visitor feel threatened, yet something that would
unmistakably remind the viewer of the dead. Not just any dead, but those
who died at the hands of the enemy in Viet Nam.
Maya Lin transformed her vision into reality in 1982.
"I thought about what death is, what a loss is', Ms. Lin said. "A sharp
pain that lessens with time , but can never heal over. A scar.....take a
knife and cut open the earth, and with time the grass would heal it.
As if you cut open the rock and polished it."
So was her conception of the Viet Nam War Memorial in Washington D.C.
The 'Wall' is an emotionally charged, breathtaking memorial to the valiant
souls who gave their lives for freedom in Viet Nam. One of the 250 foot
black marble wings points to the Washington Monument; the other to the
Lincoln Memorial. The names of the dead are in chronological order,
engraved in the panels that are a few inches wide at the tips of the
monument, up to some ten feet high at the middle. An honorable location
for an honor to the Viet Nam War fallen. Today, Memorial Day, those
of us who served in Viet Nam but are fortunate enough to have survived,
pay homage to those who paid the ultimate price.
I don't think any of us in those times really wanted to go to Viet Nam,
but we heeded our country's call and went anyway. Tragically, 58,175
names are engraved on the Wall for those who never returned to their
families and loved ones; those who fought unwaveringly for freedom but
never lived to taste it again. Singer Billy Ray Cyrus said it in a
song..."All gave some, but some gave all."
Brother, we remember you, we honor you, and we thank you with all our
heart and soul for what you have done to bring us freedom. Without you
and without your deeds, the world would be a lesser place. Today is
Memorial Day, but where you are concerned, every day is Memorial Day.
God be with you.
Happy Memorial Day, 2002
USS Oklahoma City (CLG-5)