An important piece of American history is now on display in the Brazos Valley. Its unveiling in Huntsville rekindled old memories of both sorrow and joy.
Planes flew overhead, songs were sung, and tears were shed. To many, the opening ceremony for the Vietnam Wall Experience was a time to remember, a time to reflect, and a time to heal.
Barbara Baxter McGinty lost her husband in the Vietnam War. And she says not a day goes by that she doesn't think about him.
“He was a wonderful person. He believed in honor and duty," said McGinty.
As hundreds of people looked for the names of their loved one on the wall, John Velasquez of Bryan is reminded of his time spent in Vietnam. At 22, he was just a kid, but Vietnam quickly made him a man.
“I was a platoon leader, so I had a lot of my men that got killed in Vietnam, so I know a lot of names up there," said Velasquez.
The day included stirring speeches by government officials and recognition for unsung heroes. But the main attraction, the reason behind this gathering of patriots, is the wall.
The wall itself is simple in its design, reflecting a type of understated class, but it's the wall's content that will touch your heart. 58,000 names are inscribed on it, all with a different story.
“It’s a sad but very sweet day, and I'm so proud of everyone that made this possible," said McGinty.