Citizens, loved ones, veterans pay respects to the fallen at Tra - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Citizens, loved ones, veterans pay respects to the fallen at Traveling Vietnam Wall

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
Almost 1,300 names are on the Traveling Vietnam Wall of Tennesseans that died in the war (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) Almost 1,300 names are on the Traveling Vietnam Wall of Tennesseans that died in the war (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
JACKSON, TN (WMC) -

During one of the longest wars in American history, the United States lost over 58,220 service members.

Those 58,000 names are forever engraved on the national Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C.; however, many loved ones and Americans will never lay their eyes on that wall or run their fingers over the names engraved.

But for Tennesseans, the traveling Vietnam Wall brings that experience up close and personal to everyone in the state.

"There was a little gold star woman from just south of here that came and spent three days with us. She had never seen her son's name on the wall but she got to see him on this one," said Charlie Hobbs, with the VVA of Chattanooga. "That's why we do this."

The wall, owned and created by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chattanooga chapter, was brought to West Tennessee by members of the VVA 995 in Jackson. 

Since its creation in 1994, the unit has built three different walls. The first, being made out of vinyl, created problems with members being able to display it in the sun and heat.

A panel on the second wall was damaged, causing the chapter to build a third one - the one that stood in Jackson at the entrance of Walmart on Emporium Drive for two days.

The Wall was in Jackson on Friday and Saturday. 

The wall contains the 1,291 names of Tennesseans killed in the war, including 40 Tennesseans who are missing in action.

"All these guys are our brothers because America made us that way," Hobbs said. "It's called lack of acceptance. No matter where we were from, Tennessee, New York, or California, we were all treated the same."

VVA 995 president Danny Jackson said the wall brought the veterans the ability to speak to younger individuals who were unfamiliar with the way the veterans were treated when they arrived home from the war.

To be able to explain the history of the nation, how veterans of that war were treated as opposed to now, is only one of the missions this group continues to strive for in the area. 

From being called names, assaulted, to even being denied membership in veteran organizations, the Vietnam veterans standing with the wall said they will always work to ensure no service member is forgotten and no generation of veterans will ever be abandoned again.

Members of the VVA said the Wall has been all over Tennessee, including three times in Memphis. For 20 years they have traveled the state with the Wall, promoting history, supporting veterans, and educating Tennesseans. For them, it's their mission.

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