A final place for closure
MINDEN — When he and others were guarding the traveling version of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell said they found something that brought tears to their eyes.
“I’ll never forget when the moving wall came to Carson City,” the retired Navy captain and Vietnam veteran told a crowd in Minden on Friday. “I had the honor to guard The Wall and one night we found a Silver Star medal with a note that read, ‘I don’t know if you ever got yours, but here is mine. Even today it is not hard to get teary-eyed when remembering that night. It says so much about the men and women who fought that war.”
He said the wall is a place for friends and families to remember those who lost their lives in the war.
“It is a place for families to quietly grieve for the loss of their loved ones — a loss that never really goes away,” he said. “For veterans it is a sacred place to open and to possibly finally close on the scars of the war and to pay tribute to their friends and battle buddies who didn’t make it back.”
More than 2,100 of the names listed on the wall are missing in action or prisoners of war.
Carson City resident Deborah Woodall was trying to locate one of those missing.
Woodall said she has worn a bracelet with the name Marine Lance Corp. Edward J. Rykoskey Aug., 18, 1966, SVN printed on it for more than 30 years after adopting a soldier during the war.
As far as she knew, Rykoskey hadn’t been identified as living or dead.
“I’m going to see if he is on the wall and send the bracelet to his family,” she said. She also has friends on the wall she wanted to visit.
The Vietnam Memorial Wall displays more than 58,000 men and women who served during the Vietnam War. All the names are on the moving wall.
Many in attendance for four days were local Vietnam veterans — several from the Fernley-Fallon area — who have taken Honor Flight Nevada trips to Washington, D.C., to see memorials and monuments built in honor of all veterans.
“When you approach the memorial you don’t recognize what is going on and then you see the names on the wall and you are drawn in and the emotions pour forth,” said John Devitt, a former helicopter gunner and U.S. Army veteran who created The Moving Wall in 1984.
Devitt visited the original Wall in 1982 and was moved by the positive power The Wall provided him. He vowed to share that experience with those who didn’t have the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C.
Two years later, Devitt’s vision for a moving wall went on display for the first time in Tyler, Texas, in 1984.
Since then, the wall has traveled every year for 34 years, where it has been visited by millions of Americans.
A closing ceremony took place 7 p.m. Sunday at the park and the wall closed Monday afternoon.