THE WALL THAT HEALS


I visited “The Wall That Heals” today
Under a partly cloudy sky
The grass was wet from last night’s rain
And so were the tears in my eyes

“Show respect,” the welcome sign said
At the entrance to the grounds
Approaching the wall, the reverence
Could easily be found

The high school band was there in red
And my daughter and son stood close
But among all the people, colors, and sounds
The Wall stood out the most

A loudspeaker came to life, and then
A General stood straight and tall
And while speaking of Airmen, Soldiers, 
    Sailors, and Marines
In the background, stood The Wall

With a volunteer’s help a comrade’s name
Was desired to be seen
And there it was, on the shiny black face
Panel five west, line one fifteen

Standing in front of my fallen friend
I remembered days gone by
Friends in school and reunited in war
One destined to live, one destined to die

Through moistened eyes I began to see
Past the name and The Wall and the crowd
The sights of battle in a far away land
And fellow Marines crying aloud

Once again I smelled the stench of fuel
And felt the crushing humidity and heat
Now I wept in awe in front of sacrificed lives
Laid down for a nation that fell in defeat

A staccato of gunfire brought me to
Seven rifles firing twenty-one rounds
Then the sound of “Taps” filled the air
It was a powerful, yet woeful sound

On a flagpole tall hung a tattered flag
At half-mast, where it rightfully belonged
The cloth itself was hallowed enough 
Because it flew before the fall of Saigon

As grown men wept and welcomed each other home
And emotions were running high
The sound of thunder filled the clouds
As three F-16 Falcons swept the sky

I stood in a daze feeling all alone
Then felt the presence of my daughter and son
And a very good friend who came along
Gave support that was second to none

The Wall reaches out and touches lives 
In so many different ways
As sacrifice, service, and bravery strike home
To the visitors who offer their praise

I visited “The Wall That Heals” today
To welcome a lost soldier home
Thank you, my friend, for the life that you gave
All that’s left is your name etched in stone

Bob Petersen, USMC
1967 - 1973
(C) 2005

The Viet Nam War Memorial Wall
All gave something...
 Some gave everything...

The Wall is a cold and dark place. So far removed yet today it was at my finger tips.
I touched the names. I touched those I knew and I heard them say each and every one;
 " We are well, my friend. We are in God's place and all of you are in our hearts.
 All we ask of you is to be remembered for who we were and why we are here."
Matthew's Letter

Dear Matthew,

            Well I thought you would like a little bit of news from home. I hope you enjoy the pictures too. Your father is out mowing the lawn and complaining as usual about the weeds, the summer heat and his back. He survived his heart attack last January, and while in intensive care, he kept asking for you. I brought in his favorite picture of you and placed it by his bedside. You know, the one of you and Dad at your Marine boot camp graduation. I think the picture just being there helped him through the worst of it. He really misses you.
    Nancy is doing fine. She is back to college and finally getting her degree. Whenever she comes home for the Holidays or on special occasions, she always checks on your room to make sure the bed is made and all is tidy. She still regards you as her favorite "little" brother, even though you two were always at odds. She sure loves you.  
    Steve is still flying for the airlines and can't wait to build that little cabin in the woods by the lake you and he always talked about. Can you believe it, his daughter is a Doctor now. She has her own practice and two nurses working for her. 
    Tomorrow is Veterans Day and the family will be here for Dad's legendary cook-out. And as we have done for the last 32 years, we will go through all those wonderful pictures of you son. Dad will tell of your  high school football exploits and how proud he was of you.     Steve still relives the night you and he got into Uncle Don's homemade peach brandy.  Nancy will hold me as I try and fight back the tears. It has been 32 years, son. Thirty two years ago tomorrow when the Navy Chaplain came to the door.     
    We know where you are. We know you are in a peaceful place. Take care my son. Take care.

                  Love always, 

Mom 
              c2000 Frank D Kelley

There are Lancers on The Wall.
There are Lancers no longer with us
Taken from us by circumstances so unfair
For them, we will never forget 

Frank D. Kelley '66

The Ensign's Encounter

    In 1962 the Navy blessed me with an appointment to Annapolis providing me with an outstanding education along with indoctrinations into the world of responsibility. 
    The training was exact and demanding. Pressure to succeed became the order of the day. I did well in my first three years, but there was something missing in all of this, something sinister on the horizon was about to change my career path.
    Vietnam was becoming an issue of discussions at our impromptu evening roundtables. The first real accounts of battle, heroism, pain and death began to stay in my thoughts. Upon graduation I asked to be assigned to the Chaplain Corp where I felt I could best serve my country. Another year of training and I was assigned my first duties, and my life changed forever.
    The Vietnam conflict escalated, the American public began to question our intentions and men began dying. My job was to inform families their son was not coming home. To this day I relive in my dreams my first "visitation," my first day on the job. The name of the young Marine was Matthew, 18 years of age and a very proud Marine according to the dossier I carried with me. He came from a typical working class family. As I drove to his home, I wondered what he was like, what prompted him to join the service, what kind of stock from which he was raised. The house was a nicely kept home with trees and a well-manicured lawn. The smell of food on the grill greeted me when I parked by the curb in front; after all it was Veterans Day Weekend.
    The walk to the front porch steps was the longest walk I had ever experienced. When I rang the doorbell, my entire being turned cold, I was very frightened. 
    When the door opened, a gentleman greeted me and invited me in. Sitting on the couch was his wife. 
    "Come on in," he said as he shook my hand. " Momma, get this fine young man some lemonade! How can I help ya?"
    It was on this day, I learned a mother could see a million miles, beyond my prepared script and directly into my quivering soul. 
    "When did you know that my boy was not coming home?" she asked, "When did he leave us?"
    I spent the next few minutes making a fool of myself as I tried to repeat the memorized script conveying the Navy's sorrow regarding the death of their son. I stopped, took a deep breath and looked her right in the eye.
    "Madam, your son died a hero. He was involved in a firefight with a group of Viet Cong. One member of his squad was hit and fell badly wounded in a rice patty. Matthew advanced under heavy small arms fire and retrieved the man. Once he and the wounded man were out of immediate harms way, Matthew walked over to a nearby tree, sat down, pulled a picture of his family from his pocket and closed his eyes. No one had seen the small wound on the back of his neck."
    For the next hour or so, I sat with Matthew's family and learned all there was to know about him. When I left, I realized what I had really learned. I saw a proud American family absorb a devastating blow. I saw a family come together emotionally and somehow, I knew they would be stronger for it all. 
    Over the next few years, I made many more visits, but none as revealing as my first.
    Today, I drove by Matthew's home. I so wanted to visit and tell them how much my encounter with them had affected my life. I wanted to thank them for being the American family Matthew and so many young warriors had given their all for. But, all of this would have to wait. 
    Today is Veterans Day, thirty-three years later and I find the house in need of a fresh coat of paint, the lawn is overgrown and the porch swing is hanging by one chain. There is a "For Sale" sign on the front yard. 
    As a tear rolls down my cheek, I ask God to give Matthew the brightest gold wings Heaven can offer.    

c2001 Frank D Kelley

You may share the above with any Non Commercial entity. All I ask is that I be given credit as the author and my last name to be spelled correctly.
                                       Frank D Kelley
    Last June I made a trip to Washington D.C. and visited the Vietnam War Memorial.
     The experience was beyond the realm of earthly words--all I could do is grapple with the raw emotion. 
    The sacrifice of life was incomprehensible.
I am so proud of our men and women serving in the military and I have adorned my office with my brother's picture in full uniform (Army special intelligence) and our red, white, and blue!  

Peggy Dickson Severson  '72
Who Are The Veterans?

Many of our parents left home
 while still in their youth
 and found themselves in a World War
 Those who fought are Veterans

 Many of our aunts and uncles left home
 while in their youth
 and found themselves in Korea
 Those who fought are Veterans

 Many of us left home
 while in our youth
 and found ourselves in Vietnam
 Those who fought are Veterans.

 All of us are children of the Cold War
 We were there when Berlin nearly starved
 We were there when Gary Powers left Upper Heyford
 We were there when Cuba brought forth the missiles
 We were there when the shoe slammed on the U.N. podium
 We were there when the Middle East exploded
 We were there at the brink
 We were there when the wall came down
 All of us are Veterans
 Veterans tried and true

 Now, many of our children have left home
 while in their youth
 and found themselves in Granada, Iraq,
 Bosnia, and Kosovo, and Afghanistan.
 They are the new Veterans

 May God Keep them
 May God Bless Them All

     Let us not forget those who are no longer with us.


Frank D. Kelley '66 
USN -  Vietnam Veteran
(C) 1999

Sign InView Entries
August Monhof
CPL - E4 - Marine Corps - Regular
21 year old Single, Caucasian, Male
Born on Sep 25, 1946
From COLDWATER, MICHIGAN
Length of service 2 years.
His tour of duty began on Sep 29, 1966
Casualty was on Dec 05, 1967
in QUANG NAM, SOUTH VIETNAM
NON-HOSTILE, HELICOPTER - CREW
AIR LOSS, CRASH ON LAND
Body was recovered

Panel 31E - - Line 41

Gregory S. Crandall
WO1 - W1 - Army - Reserve 
101st Airborne Division 
21 year old Single, Caucasian, Male
Born on Jul 18, 1949
From TACOMA, WASHINGTON
Length of service 1 year.
His tour of duty began on Feb 18, 1971
Casualty was on Feb 18, 1971
LAOS
Hostile, died while missing
HELICOPTER - CREW
AIR LOSS, CRASH ON LAND 
Body was recovered 


Panel 05W - - Line 115


    The Wall That Heals is the intellectual property of the Author All rights are reserved. 
Before you leave this page, please take a few moments and pray for our troops as they do their jobs with professionalism and pride. After all some of them are Lancers and some are our children.
James Patrick Proctor
LCPL - E3 - Marine Corps - Regular 
Length of service 2 years
Casualty was on Aug 1, 1967
In QUANG TRI, SOUTH VIETNAM
Hostile, died of wounds, GROUND CASUALTY
GUN, SMALL ARMS FIRE
Body was recovered

Panel 24E - Line 63 ​