To the Editor,
On behalf of our committee, I would like to thank the citizens of Jasper County for their support during the recent Wall That Heals event. The local businesses, which are too many to mention, came through as always with supplies, meals etc. The Legion Riders and Patriot Guard Riders escorted the Wall to town with great honor. Sheriff Halferty and county wide law enforcement and fire personnel led the procession into Maytag Park. The blessing of the grounds was lead by Vietnam Vet Gary VanBaale who gave an opening prayer that painted a realistic portrait of the veterans on the wall and the circumstances that led to their names being listed. Over a dozen local Vietnam Vets helped assemble the wall. It was with great reverence that their hands handled the panels as they were placed side by side. To the vets, they weren’t metal panels, but a living testimony to their 58,000 plus fellow comrades that had made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our country. The wall was guarded 24/7 by local Vietnam Vets. As the snow steadily fell, and the temperatures dropped, I suggested they sit in their cars to stay warm. They would hear nothing of it. They stoked up the fire pit and faithfully stood guard over those on the wall. Many stories were exchanged over that fire. Some humorous, some sad, each one taking a grey headed individual back forty plus years to a land far away. No matter where they were stationed, each vet had a connection to the stories. As the renowned author Jose Narosky once stated, “In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” Maytag Park became hallowed ground for a time last week and I do believe that some level of healing took place. We will continue our mission of healing and recognition later this month. Another jet load of local vets will make their way to their memorials in DC on May 21st. Please join us in thanking these vets at the send off ceremony which will be held on May 19th. Freedom is not free and these vets sacrificed a portion of their life to insure that we enjoy what we have today.
Freedom Flight Committee