Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Kansas III

The Veteran's Park, in Wichita, rests alongside the Arkansas River. Wichita has, like so many cities who have beautiful rivers, built a lovely river-walk along side it. I walked just a few steps on this path and noticed the Vietnamese flag flying above me on a small hill. I walked up and discovered this very new memorial. It was so new that some workmen were still laying sod around it while I was there.

As the plaque explains, it was built by the Vietnamese community in an attempt to thank all who tried to save Vietnam from its eventual fall to the Communist, especially the more than 58,000 American men and women who gave their lives to this cause.

As I have traveled the country, I have seen an ever increasing number of memorials built by the Vietnamese. I think one of the most beautiful is in Westminster, California and I have featured it here previously. If you missed it, you can "click" on California on the left side of this page and scroll back until you find it. I like seeing these sites. It makes me feel a little better knowing that our efforts were actually appreciated by the Vietnamese people. I admit that while I was there I was not so sure that this was the case, so I guess this helps a little.

While I admit that I struggle somewhat with my own ambivalence, I was shocked when I spoke to a local vet about the Vietnamese site. His anger was palpable. He said something along the lines of; "I don't acknowledge that one, its not ours!" It made me wonder just how long the pain lasts and what we need to do to heal ourselves and each other. 40 years, plus or minus, seems a long time to be so angry! I feel as if I am somewhat further along that path than this guy and it makes me sad that his life is still so damaged, or controlled, by events so very long ago. I wish him and all others peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment