Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall officially opens in Elizabethtown
The monument serves as a place of healing for those veterans unable to make it to the original memorial in Washington D.C.
ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) – A near replica of the original Vietnam Veteran's Memorial is officially complete in Elizabethtown and opened to the public on Saturday. Those who served in the Vietnam War say this local memorial is now a place of healing.
The more than 58,000 names carved into the black stone each have a story.
“I was a medic and unfortunately there were a couple that I couldn't save,” veteran Richard Uhler said. “And they're listed on this wall.”
This Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Wall is 360-feet long, an 80 percent scale of the one in Washington D.C. Now fully finished at Veteran's Tribute Park in Elizabethtown, the men’s and women’s names represent the cost of soldiers left on the battlefield and the impact on those left behind.
“I've found some guys that I knew that I flew with, some that I kind of lived with in basic training ... sometimes it's just really hard to recognize, like someone said, that you got to come home and they didn't,” veteran Bradley Burkholder said.
For many who proudly donned their veteran hats, they remember the war like it was yesterday. Some took a knee to get an up close look at the names that weigh heavy on their hearts.
“It did bring a tear to the eye, that's right,” Uhler said.
And with each touch of a name, the pain is slowly released.
“You feel a little healing and a little inspiration from it,” Burkholder said.
But their greatest sacrifice will never be forgotten.
“It just tells the world how much we care,” Burkholder said.
The permanent wall, which was built by veterans themselves, was years in the making.
“This is a place to come where they can reflect on the memories, reflect on their buddies, reflect on what it means to be an American and fight for the flag,” said veteran Carey T. Christie.
The Veteran’s Tribute Group says no other Vietnam War Memorial Wall can be built within 100 miles.
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