Vietnam Veterans Memorial replica is at the state capitol

"It’s important to recognize those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and who are on the wall."

Sloane Martin
June 21, 2018 - 7:27 pm

Sloan Martin, WCCO Radio

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A three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. is at the state capitol,

As many as 15-thousand are expected to view the "Wall that Heals" during its stay — the event is free to the public and open 24 hours through Sunday afternoon.

On the site, one can find a small museum, veterans services and a Huey helicopter, but the main attraction is the wall itself. 

It bears the names of every American that lost their lives in the Vietnam War. The names are engraved, so people can trace the names on paper to hold on to and frame.

The conflict in Vietnam has a complicated legacy, but this traveling memorial is a chance to solemnly reflect on those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Katie Carpenter is with Minnesota Remember Vietnam with Twin Cities Public Television.

“It’s important to recognize those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and who are on the wall. It’s 50 years later… a lot of veterans are starting to share their own stories, they’re starting to feel more comfortable being recognized. They’re being thanked for their service -- they were not given a great welcome home,” she said

The memorial’s presence in St. Paul is a prized opportunity for veterans who can't make it to DC for medical, financial or other reasons.

Those walking along the wall can see the names of loved ones and friends, as well as those still missing. Some left roses and American flags.

Kay Bauer is a Navy nurse who served in Vietnam. She said the wall serves as a gathering place where veterans of the conflict can talk and share stories.

“They call it the wall that healed. It’s a time when they can come and talk about what happened, and about their losses and what it was like to be there and now be home.”

She said that earlier day, she got into a conversation with a fellow veteran by the wall about their time in the war. The veteran’s wife was listening, and after a few moments remarked to him “You never told me all that”

It’s easier, Bauer noted, for veterans to open up to people who have a shared experience.

“So that’s why I’m here,” she said.