This Memorial Day we’ll be holding a virtual event due to the ongoing pandemic: Monday May 25, 11 am PT / 2 pm ET
by Doug Rawlings, Vietnam Full Disclosure
For the past five years we have collected and delivered 473 letters to the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. We are going to collect and deliver more letters this year, perhaps our last. For me, personally, this year marks my fiftieth “anniversary” of time spent in the Central Highlands of Vietnam with an artillery battery. I will walk the Wall one more time. I’d love to have your words along with me and all our colleagues who will join us for this action. We have published two volumes of letters and following this Memorial Day, we will publish one more. Will your letter be among them?
What can you possibly write to a wall, you might ask. It depends. Who were you fifty years ago? A granddaughter writes about her mother, a widow of the war, as she “talks” to her grandfather killed in Cambodia; a medic writes to those who died in his arms; a nurse writes to those Vietnamese and American soldiers who breathed their last breaths with her; a mother writes to her son; a conscientious objector writes of his anguish as he wishes that he could have done more; a dedicated anti-war protestor writes of her devotion to those who struggled to escape war’s tentacles; and a Vietnamese refugee writes of her brother perhaps killed by someone whose name is on The Wall. You see, it depends on how the war impacted you.
In the past, we have delivered the letters in open business envelopes marked “Please Read Me.” However, this Memorial Day, instead of walking from the East and West ends of The Wall as planned, we’ll be holding a virtual event instead due to the ongoing pandemic.
We do this not as a political action, but as an act of reverence. We consider The Wall to be holy ground. It is the last place we have to engage with our fallen brothers and sisters. We take this task very seriously.
But first you have to write that letter. If you want to read previous letters, please go to our website vietnamfulldisclosure.org. Become inspired. And then write. Write from the heart. All letters are welcome, and I personally promise to deliver your letter on Memorial Day. Please send the letter to me, Doug Rawlings, at my email address — firstname.lastname@example.org before May 20, 2020. I look forward to sharing your words with those who still care about those whose lives were forever changed by the war. And please feel free to distribute this request far and wide.