Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Wall

It is so wonderful how things happen for is a good feeling to be in the right places at the right time. We always give thanks for this "wonderful timing".

We had originally planned on going to the Vietnam Memorial Wall on Tuesday after visiting our injured troops at Walter Reed hospital....but as we got in our car to head that way...we changed our minds and went back to our hotel in Rockville to just spend the remainder of the day "resting". Good decision!

By Thursday we were ready to head to the Wall...having no idea what was just ahead for us. In our travels we have often been in just the "right place at the right time". And this day was to be exceptional for us!

This time it was much easier to find wheelchair parking. (We have a nickname and call it "cherry parking".....because that is what our youngest grandson Jace called it when he was learning to talk) We parked and put about 10 books into Eddie's bag that he carries on his wheelchair...."just in case" we needed them.

As we neared the Wall there was a gentleman in a wheel chair sitting by himself....obviously a veteran. Eddie stopped to talk with him. He was waiting there for his wife who had returned to their car to get something. He told Eddie that they had been out the day before but he had not been able to get to the Wall so they had returned today. Eddie gave him a book and spoke with him till his wife returned. We met her and still continued to chat for a while. He asked for another book for a friend. We both remember how hard it was for Eddie that first time we came to this place of honor and remembrance. A few other veterans passed by and Eddie spoke to some of them, giving out two more books. Eventually we left to go on to the Wall...and soon noticed that they had come as well.
Coming to see those on the Wall is always emotional. For Eddie it is remembering them as they young. For me it seeing them through his eyes...and I have come to feel as though I "know" them. As we approached the second panel....there he was without even looking for him...Daniel Duffy. He was in Eddie's fire team. From there we looked at James Mitchell Jr. Eddie's Lt. Both of them were killed when Eddie was injured. He had carried such guilt for so long because he had been point man that day on patrol. Then we searched out all the many...too many. We then moved down to panel 11 to search for Eddie's nephew William Beasley. (not a typo....part of his family spells their name Beasley and part Beesley...still the same family).
As we started back to the center of the Wall we noticed a large group of veterans, a diverse group....Vietnam veterans as well as many from our current War . Some he had talked to earlier were in this group and they asked Eddie if he wanted to get in their group picture. I asked if I could take a picture...and they said "yes." It was so good to see this group of men together...their wars were in different places and times...but together they can help each other deal with the memories of war...not an easy thing to do...I have lived with Eddie's memories for almost 42 years now.

After the picture we gave out the remainder of our books....but did not have enough for everyone. I felt so bad...but the car was too far away to run for more books so I told them to email us with an address and we would send more books to them. (Today, I got an email so we will be sending books off to them soon!)

We left the Wall and stopped for a snack...and got to talk to these veterans for a while longer before their bus came for them. What a wonderful day! We felt so glad that we had come today and not on Tuesday!

Connie Beesley

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The wall is most definitely a beautiful thing to see! Everyone who visits seems to have some sort of emotion evoked as MANY American lives were lost. I have a comment that cannot compare to the great Vietnam Wall in DC but it is just another way to honor our fallen heroes.

Recently I joined the group which boasts over 869,000 veteran members of the military. There they have many services including a reunion service and veterans business directory but they also created an online casualty memorial for those, on the Vietnam Wall, who paid the ultimate price in protecting our freedom. I urge anyone out there who wants to memorialize a loved one or friend to set up a profile/memorial page for them where you can post photos, insignias and awards. It's free, easy and quick and will memorialize that person forever and for possibly millions to see!