Paying Tribute

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:50

    On a sunny day in Jefferson last week, a man sat on a bench as he spoke to a wall. Any other day in any other location this would have seemed out of place, however, the bench on which he sat was not on a street corner, and the wall he gazed upon, was not the side of a building. He was staring at the names of fellow soldiers who died while serving with him in Vietnam. The man, who wished not to be identified for this story, served in the First Air Cavalry Division during the Vietnam War and had come to Jefferson to gaze on the "Moving Wall," a large recreation of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C., which lists the names of the 58,235 soldiers killed or missing in action in the Vietnam war. "It's amazing how many people this wall overwhelms," said the veteran. Looking at the names, the man recalled his commanding officer who was shot by a sniper two days before he was to be sent home. The CO had served 363 days of a 365-day tour of duty. Thinking back to his own experiences, the man said that towards the end of his service the war had changed the way he perceived others. "Every time you met someone something would happen to them," said the veteran. "You become attached, and the next thing you know, you're putting them on a helicopter."