So close you can touch it
It has been almost 20 years since the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was unveiled in Washington, D.C., and it seems that the memorial's power to move people only grows as the years go by.
Anyone who doubts that need not travel to Washington. In the past few days, they needed to go only as far as Packard Park in Warren where the Moving Wall Memorial has been erected. The wall is available to visitors 24 hours a day and will be in Warren until 6 p.m. July 4.
The Moving Wall is smaller than the wall in Washington, and its panels are made of a composite material, not granite. But it contains the same 58.200 names of the men and women who died in the service of their country during the Vietnam War. And there is an information tent equipped with a computer that enables visitors to locate any name on the wall in short order.
This is not the first time the wall has been in this area. It was in Meadville, Pa., in 1998, Youngstown in 1996 and in Leetonia in 1992. The Moving Wall shares its preamble with the Washington memorial. It reads: "In honor of the men and women of the armed forces of the United States who served in the Vietnam War, the names of those who gave their lives and of those who remain missing are inscribed in the order they were taken from us."
To see those names, to touch them and to feel them is to come just a bit closer to understanding the sacrifice they made. For just another day, those names and the thoughts they inspire are but a short drive away for anyone reading this newspaper.
It is a drive worth making -- especially at a time when we are celebrating the freedom and independence for which all our veterans have made so many sacrifices.