August 10, 2003
A half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial has arrived in Meridian, thanks to the hard work of Percy Howland of VFW Post 79, City of Meridian Chief Administrative Officer Ken Storms and a host of other volunteers. The wall is available for viewing on the grounds of Bonita Lakes Mall 24 hours a day before it departs on Friday.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, according to the National Park Service, serves as a testament to the sacrifice of American military personnel during one of this nation's least popular wars. The purpose of this memorial is to separate the issue of the sacrifices of the veterans from the U.S. policy in the war, thereby creating a venue for reconciliation.
Like the original, the moving wall on display in Meridian contains the names of the 58,169 U.S. soldiers killed in Vietnam. Like at the original, little rectangles of paper and charcoal will be available for people who want to make an etching of the names of lost friends or relatives. And, like the original, viewing it will likely evoke emotional memories of troubled times in U.S. history and of the ultimate sacrifice made by the courageous men and women whose names are forever preserved on its panels.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington is a stunning, dignified memorial and we encourage all of our readers to take the time to visit the replica while it is in Meridian. It represents a piece of American history and another poignant reminder that the cause of freedom is never free.