Vietnam Wall Moves Visitors in Manhattan

You're never too young to show appreciation for those who gave their lives for our freedom. Visitors of all ages came from throughout the area to pay their respects at the Vietnam Moving Wall that came to Manhattan during the Fourth of July holiday weekend. (Photo by Karen Haave)
You're never too young to show appreciation for those who gave their lives for our freedom. Visitors of all ages came from throughout the area to pay their respects at the Vietnam Moving Wall that came to Manhattan during the Fourth of July holiday weekend. (Photo by Karen Haave)

By Karen Haave
The Vietnam Moving Wall on display in the Village of Manhattan drew hundreds of visitors, and a plethora of emotions, as well.
Some said they came to honor the more than 58,000 service members whose names are etched on the memorial and who gave their lives between 1957 and 1975.
Some said they found it sad, others, poignant, inspiring or evoking a sense of gratitude.
For Sgt. E5 Phyllis Dooley Clower, it was about family and respect.
The names of six of her cousins are on that wall, reflecting a time that was, for her family, heartbreaking.
Not surprisingly, the Montgomery, Illinois resident has made it her mission to show respect for veterans of the Vietnam War, both living and deceased.
Clower served as a communications specialist with a Secret Clearance from 1981-87, more than a decade after Vietnam was over.
But her demand for respect for Vietnam veterans began when she was a very young child.
Watching the TV news, she saw people spitting on soldiers returning home, calling them names.
“When I was a kid, about nine years old, I was playing outside. There was a soldier walking by, and someone picked up a pile of dog poo and threw it on his uniform,” she said.
“I took the dress off of my Barbie doll and used it to wipe the poo off of his uniform. And then I walked him home.”
After that, she made it a point to escort Vietnam veterans every chance she could.
“They never got the attention that other veterans got. They never got a welcome home parade. You see them in parades, but there’s never been a parade for them.
“What I did for Vietnam vets, I did because I felt they deserve respect. And everytime I see a Vietnam veteran, I thank them for their service and salute them.”
The Moving Wall, she added, is an appropriate accolade.
“It made me feel sad,” she said during her visit to the Village of Manhattan display.
“I think it’s sad, but inspiring.”
Bringing the display to the Village of Manhattan was the culmination of months of effort. Manhattan Mayor Mike Adrieansen credited Village Trustee Ron Adamski, a former U.S. Navy Veteran, with spearheading the drive to host the wall “so we can properly pay tribute to the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”
The Moving Wall is the half-size replica of the Washington, DC, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and has been touring the country for more than 30 years. Built by Vietnam veteran volunteers, it was displayed for the first time in Tyler, Texas, October of 1984.
The replica is 375 feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point. Visitors experience The Wall rising above them as they walk towards the apex, a key feature of the design of The Wall in D.C.
The exhibit has been displayed in some 600 communities throughout the nation since its inception.
There are two replica versions of The Vietnam Veterans Memorial that tour the United States each year between April and November.
The wall is scheduled for display in Illinois in Eureka, from July 13 through 16.
Inscribed on the Memorial are the names of service members who were classified as dead, missing, or prisoner. Right of thr names are those of women, all nurses: Eleanor Grace Alexander, Pamela Dorothy Donovan, Carol Ann Drazba, Annie Ruth Graham, Elizabeth Ann Jones, Mary Therese Klinker, Sharon Ann Lane, and Hedwig Diane Orlowski.
Veterans confirmed dead have a diamond icon next to the name, while those whose status is unknown have a cross. When the death of one who was previously missing is confirmed, a diamond is superimposed over the cross. If a missing veteran were to return alive, the cross would be enclosed in a circle.

Story and photos by freelance reporter Karen Haave

Sgt. E5 Phyllis Dooley Clower (Retired) salutes all Vietnam veterans to show her respect for their sacrifices. Returning her salute at the Vietnam Moving Wall in Manhattan is PFC Michael Baron (Retired).

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