Vietnam War Memorial Honors Fallen Soldiers

By: Morgan Demmel Email
By: Morgan Demmel Email

People are remembering the soldiers who didn't make it back from Vietnam at a memorial in Kearney this 4th of July weekend.

The traveling Vietnam Wall Memorial gives people a chance to remember and honor loved ones lost in the war.

"It brings back a lot of memories. Not necessarily bad ones, but not necessarily good ones," says Vietnam veteran Orlin Wentz.

Wentz is remembering one of his friends who was killed while setting up a perimeter mine.

"He was crouched over one, and bad news. Which, you know, things like that's kinda touching to me yet," Wentz says.

Others brought photos and notes to leave near their loved ones' names. Gene Beerbohm wanted to honor his college classmate.

"I brought a picture out to put that face with a name. You see a lot of names, but you don't see the face that goes with it," Beerbohm says.

He also says seeing the memorial for the first time is overwhelming, but can also provide healing.

"For some people it's a way of putting closure to some of these names," Beerbohm says.

For 20-year U.S.Marine veteran Terry Bennett, this is the perfect weekend to remember fallen soldiers.

"A lot of veterans go unnoticed or unrecognized for their actions and giving their lives," Bennett says. "Seeing a name on a wall like this symbolizes that somebody took some time to honor the veterans that were killed in Vietnam."

Organizers say bringing the traveling wall to Kearney is the only way many veterans will be able to see it.

"A lot of these guys don't have the wherewithal or a reason or even the want to go clear back to Washington D.C. to see it. They've been dealing with problems ever since Vietnam. You get it close like this, the families can get them here and a lot of times that creates enough healing to put this thing behind them," Bill Crosier says.

The memorial is open through Monday night. A closing ceremony will be held Monday, beginning at 10am.

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