Charles loves and appreciates history. And he grew up in a time when the draft was in effect and several of his friends were called and served during the Vietnam conflict. He had shared with me the details of a funeral of one of his friends who went and gave his all in 1969. When Charles learned the memorial was coming to Cookeville, he made it a priority to go.
The display is setup very nice. There is no cost for admission, but there is a donation box if you would like to help support the program.
If you are looking for a specific name, there are volunteers there to lookup the name for you and the section the name is located. They will provide you with the section number and row of the name of the veteran you have come to view. They also will provide you with a paper and pencil to make a tracing to carry home.
In the photo to the left, Charles has found a volunteer to help him locate the specific section given to him on the way in. Also in the photo, just to the left side, you see a volunteer and some others kneeling by the wall. It was humbling to hear a woman expressing her grief over the loss of a loved one. It has been many years, but her loss remains and was heart-wrenching to witness.
There is also an area with displays and momentos left at the wall, along with a very informative video on the beginning of the project and a letter written to "the young men" by President Ronald Reagan.
If you get a chance to visit, please do! Whether you have a personal connection to the conflict, or not. It's a good reminder for us all of the sacrifices so many have made for our country.
If Cookeville is too far to attend, I would suggest going to the website to find the tour locations this year.