I went to high school in a small town in California's San Gabriel Valley, Temple City. I was a proud member of the Class of '65.
What a time that was, the Sixties. Assassinations reigned, the President, his brother, Martin Luther King, Jr. It was a time of severe racial unrest, wars were fought in the streets of the South and every night on the news in our living rooms as we were shown footage from Viet Nam.
Those boys I'd just seen at the high school graduation night party were ducking bullets in a land on the other side of the world, leaving here in a clean starched uniform and a perfect smile, and waking up in a nightmare that would forever change their lives and the lives of everyone who knew them.
This past week the Moving Wall - a half-size replica of the one in Washington D.C. stood in the park in Temple City for a few days. On the ground, in front of the wall, at a few places were plaques with the names of the local boys who either died or were missing in action. Only a heart of granite would not be moved by the wall. To see these thousands of names carved there, brings back every headline, every telegraph from the War Department, every tear shed by every parent, lover, child or sibling from those days some 40 years ago.
And the worst part was the thanklessness faced by many who did return.
This is supposed to be a healing wall. We can now say thank you loud and clear, and we should.
How else can we face the ourselves and our community and all that we possess, now reflected in the surface of this Memorial.
For myself, I say Thank You with all of my heart. To these brave men and women, I offer my gratitude and my prayers.