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There's power in names on wall
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Editor, Confusion and frustration filled the two women’s faces as they searched the long black wall. Fear filled their hearts that they would not find what they had come so desperately to see — a name.
Overwhelmed by the seemingly endless list of names, one of the ladies approached one of the many attendants and asked for help. The gray haired man's warm smile and caring words led them to the small white tent where they found help.
They came like many others to find a name. Others like me just to see this 123 ft. long monument to the Vietnam veterans that stood stolidly in Emmit Park. Many of the visitors were greeted and helped by Vietnam veterans who stood by waiting to help. These retired soldiers gave tribute in watching over their fallen comrade’s memory at this memorial that never let’s them be forgotten.
To visit this wall is indescribable. I looked upon this monument in disbelief that so many people had lost their lives. Fighting for their country, for my small children and me. I knew not a single soul on the wall of 58,000 names. But I still walked along, letting my eyes run over the shiny black panels.
I stopped to touch one of the many names like others had done. I can’t remember the name but I remember the emotion I felt. As my finger ran over the letters, my eyes filled with tears and my throat clutched.
It was if I was touched from beyond. Was it the terrible loss of so many men and women all speaking together or was it the love and grief of countless loved ones that had come before me to touch it?
I was no longer a tourist. I was now a mourner. Sadness filled my heart for these men and women but also for their surviving family members who never got to say goodbye, never got to say I love you as they took their last breath.
I saw a gray-haired man talking with another veteran. I wanted to say “Thank you.” Once again, I felt the tears filling my eyes and knew the words would get caught in my throat and never pass my lips. So I simply passed by them and smiled. They smiled back and nodded. Maybe they knew by my teary eyes what I felt. These humble men who stood by this monument to their fallen comrades and helped those who came here to say goodbye and heal by touching the precious name of their fallen hero.  
On a wall that helps us to understand, to heal, and to bring reverence and remembrance to these men and women that we shall never forget them and that our love for them and their memory shall last forever.

Joann H. Jackson
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