Take time to visit wall, pay homage

Hundreds of motorcyclists, many flying large American flags from their bikes, escorted the semi-truck Tuesday that hauled the “The Wall That Heals” into Warren.

Hundreds of residents lined the route along East Market Street, also waving American flags and cheering for the arrival of this traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The powerful procession also included flashing lights and sirens from police cruisers.

The scene was quite a stark difference from the sad return that our service men and women experienced upon their return home from the Vietnam War more than four decades ago. Those veterans, of course, returned to a chilly reception by this nation torn over the Vietnam War debate.

But this week provides a new opportunity for all of us to recognize the service given by those who served our country in Vietnam, especially by those whose names appear on the memorial.

The salute that began Tuesday continued Wednesday when dozens of local volunteers assembled on Warren’s northwest side for hours hoisting each of the 140 heavy panels composed of synthetic granite into place, shaping the 375-foot replica wall.

And beginning today, the wall will be open to the public 24 hours per day through noon Sunday on the lawn outside Warren’s Packard Musicl Hall. This is the only stop scheduled for Ohio this year.

Every single person who has been involved in executing this wonderful event deserves praise. That includes those who escorted and greeted the wall, those who helped erect the wall and those who envisioned this stop in Warren and made the formal request to bring it here. Those who will volunteer to spend time at the wall around the clock in order to answer questions and assist or direct visitors also deserve much praise, as do all the organizers and participants for this week’s very special ceremonies and recognitions. It’s truly a wonderful undertaking!

But more than all that, those who deserve the most honor and recognition, of course, are the service men and women who represented our nation by serving in Vietnam — as well as those who served in all times of war, conflict and peace.

We especially recognize the more than 58,000 names that appear on this wall — those who gave their lives in service to our country, and notably the 60 men from Trumbull County whose names are listed.

We encourage all who read this to take some time in the next couple days to visit the wall to pay respects to those who served and died for our country. It’s a small token of the appreciation we all should share.