May 5, 2015
Memorial Traveling Wall
|It will be difficult to get through this edition of the
website without getting extremely emotional. This past
weekend was both troubling and uplifting.
Due to the incredible efforts of Mike and Connie Kennedy, The
Journey Home, and many, many volunteers, some of whom are
classmembers, the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall came to
Winchester. The Journey Home is committed to helping
veterans get control of their lives post military service.
I encourage everyone to support this effort to save so many who
have given up so much for us.
|Ted Martin was a guest speaker and did a great job telling
stories of his military experience, and also provided some
entertainment at the expense of Bob Marker and a trash
receptical, and an innocent jar of peanut butter!
|I love history, and as I was walking through the museum
tent, I saw this poster.
It intrigued me. Below it, was a brick salvaged from the
it was the poster that got to me. Here is where my tears
began; however, the sobbing came shortly afterwards.
Beside me was an older gentleman, who had tears streaming down
his cheeks. He was a veteran, but I do not believe it was
from the Vietnam War. I say war, because I do not care if
the government called it a conflict or not, looking at the
thousands of names on that wall, no one could ever tell me they
lost their lives for only a conflict!
I did not have the heart
to ask him if it might have been himself or someone he loved who
had been lost, his grief seemed so raw, as if it had only been
recent, I just felt I should let him grieve privately. But
I did know he was a veteran, and so I turned to him and took his
hand and thanked him for his service. He was very
appreciative of that and hugged me. We cried together for
a moment before moving away so that others might view the
artifacts in the tent. I saw so many people looking for
names on the wall. Some were found, others were not.
Memorial flowers lay at many sections.
|Next to the poster was a t-shirt with names of Indiana
soldiers who were MIA. One name immediately jumped out, as
I was totally unaware Winchester had anyone killed in Vietnam,
let alone MIA.
Robert Eugene Holdeman was born in 1931. He was a Marine
and the plane he was in was shot down near Haiphong, North
Vietnam on November 25, 1967. He was repatriated on June
It was heartwrenching to look at the photographs of
all the young faces of the "boys". There were pictures of
men in front of jeeps, helicopters, planes, and even one of a
sign that said "China Beach".
|There were two helicopters, and crew members were giving
rides. The price was pretty hefty, but people were
flocking to them to have the opportunity to ride. Forgive
me if I get this wrong, I am not at all knowledgeable in
military aircraft, but one
was a Huey, and the other was a Bell
(H-13 Sioux), I believe. Flights were almost constant from
the football field at the high school.
|There was a parade on Saturday, and it was one of the
longest I can remember. It took 1 hour and 10 minutes to
pass the Courthouse Square. The people who came to watch
the parade cheered and clapped as the veterans from each branch
of the military passed.
Many of the Veterans yelled "thank you" to the crowd. This
may have been the first recognition or appreciation many had
ever been shown for the sacrifice they made so many years ago.