Vietnam memorial visits educational for some

PARKERSBURG – More than 7,000 people visited the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall during its time in City Park for the holiday weekend, officials said.

“Greg Welsh, with the Wall, told me this morning that by the end of Monday, he expects over 7,000 people came to see it,” said Patsy Greiner, auxiliary president for VFW Post 8127 in Vienna. “This weekend has been just phenomenal.”

The number of attendees is from the Wall’s set-up completion early Wednesday morning through 9 p.m. Monday when the last volunteers were scheduled to leave.

“We have fielded questions from people of all ages, some were veterans and others family members,” Greiner said. “We also have had people who didn’t know of anyone who served in the war, but still want to learn about the history and pay their respects.”

Monica and Emily Allen, of Davisville, were two of those area citizens who have no family connection or friendly ties to the Wall, but wanted to see the memorial before it left.

“We came here for education,” said Monica Allen. “Emily’s teacher suggested the kids come to the Wall, so we decided to do it.

“I didn’t realize how it would affect me; it is overwhelming and something very special,” the mother added.

Emily Allen, 11, said she learned a lot more about the Vietnam War and the people who lost their lives during it through the visit to the Wall, compared to history classes in school.

“I didn’t know a lot about the war before, but now that I know more, I think I will look up more about it,” the student said.

“We are going to take this experience in and really learn about the war,” Monica Allen said.

While many community members took the time to attend the Wall, Greiner said the volunteers appeared to be those who were most touched by the experience.

“Many of the volunteers are veterans and we had a lot of them not want to leave when their shift was over,” Greiner said. “They tell me it is a privilege to be here.”

Because of the success of this weekend and its previous visit in 2011, the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall is already scheduled to return to City Park for Labor Day Weekend 2016, officials said.

Beginning around 8 a.m. today, volunteers will be disassembling the panels of the traveling wall to be packed on the truck for transportation to its next stop in Ashburn, Ga.