By Jim Regan
Have you ever heard about it? Have you ever seen it? Do you know that it exists? If the answer to any of these questions is “No,” then we got to do better, getting the “word” out!
Got a “call” the other night. “Jim, the “Moving Wall” will be in London, KY., and we want to “Lay a wreath!” Okey Dokey, says I; who, what, when, where, and how???
The answers were there, and I moved on to getting the wreath, planning my trip, making contact with the folks at London.
The local florist did a great job, (was able to fit the wreath into the passenger compartment of my pick’um truck!) I could just “see” that whipping out of the truck bed, as I kept up with the “Big Boys,” at 80 MPH on I-75 S!!!
Got to London, KY, a small but busy ‘burg! As I followed my “Map Quest” instructions, I immediately “saw” where I was going. There must have been fifty American flags, outside the fence from the High School!!! Turned in and was greeted warmly by all that I saw. There was a “Tent,” where the “Table for the Missing Veterans” would be set up. I moved our wreath in, and just kinda, moved around and “scoped out” the area.
Was not too long, and the guys linked up with me, and we discussed what would happen with the “presentation/placing of the wreaths.” I felt very comfortable, but did not let my guard down. “Mister Murphy” lurks in the background!
Time for the ceremony, all things not really “solid” in my mind. “Stay cool Jim, go with the flow!” The formation; about a Platoon sized group of Vietnam Vets, the spectators, wives, kids, and grand kids. Color Guard, and we folks w/ the wreaths, managed to get to where we supposed to be. All the commands were not what I was used to hearing, or shouting, on the parade fields, but they got us to do what we were there for!!! To pay tribute and honor to our “Fallen Comrades!”
The ceremony goes on, and the guy introduces the units that are going to, “place” the wreaths. He tells the “history” of the outfits! First, the JROTC from the South Laurel High School, then the guys, the LRRPS/Rangers from the 75th Ranger Regiment, then the Representatives from the 229th Aviation Battalion, 1st Cav! The fellow from the JROTC goes forward and places his wreath, about six feet from the middle of the wall. Next is me, and I say a “silent prayer, “Dear God, don’t let me stumble or falter!” I place the wreath. Don’t know where it came from, but I stepped back, and straightened a ribbon. Then I saluted, moved a half step to the right, and approached the “WALL!” I placed my right hand on the top of the Wall! Why in the world did I do that!!!??? Slowly, about face, moving slowly, and surely, I resumed my position to the left of the Color guard. Taps was “played, and I managed to get “through it!”
I truly believe, SOMEONE, perhaps the guys, (41 of our Comrades,) prompted me to say a “Final Farewell!!!” Forty one years later!!! I believe that I have finally found “CLOSURE” with Vietnam!!!
By Jim Regan RLTW (Rangers Lead the Way)
We need some Vietnam War Stories!