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A Minnesota PBS Initiative

Stories from the Vietnam Wall

As Wayne Dionne notes in his story submission, "the power of the Vietnam Wall is real." We've assembled this collection of stories relating to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the scaled traveling replica, The Wall That Heals, in order to convey some of that power.

As he continued his unwavering stare, he said "I never came home from over there."

Older woman with cane, standing by the Vietnam War Memorial.
A young soldier in glasses and a helmet, with a camera around his neck.

The panel on the wall says it all, because it is--like so many other war deaths--a terrible waste.

I was standing alone by the Vietnam Memorial late that evening. Not another soul was there.

Contemporary photo of an older gentleman in a black Veterans for Peace t-shirt and ball cap, holding a sign that says "Endless War, Misery, Sorrow, Debt; Let's Try Peace".
Chinook helicopter with men ducking towards it.

I walk along The Wall, tears fill my eyes. Over 58,000 men and women, in Nam, they lost their lives.

The light was rapidly fading and an eery silence settled about me... My senses went on alert.

Contemporary image of a man in a MACV 75 Vietnam veteran ball cap and reading from a piece of paper.
Vietnam Memorial on a cloudy day, two bouqets leaned up against the wall.

I did not make my first trip until 2012 because I didn't want to remember. I just didn't want to.

In reality, things were not so well. From the rice paddies and the jungles, war was a living hell.

Two men reflected in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Young soldier crouching next to a military aircraft.

It was a coming out of sorts for me, freely and publicly talking about my status as a vet.

If you've paid a visit to the Wall, we'd love to hear from you, too.

Share your story

Story Themes: Bill Habedank, Diane O'Shaugnessy, Doug Bradley, Larry Davis, Listen, Look, Music, Poetry, Read, Ron Mackedanz, Ronn Easton, Shaun Schipper, Stories on a Theme, The Vietnam Memorial, The Vietnam Wall, Watch, Wayne Dionne

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