05/02/07 — Remembering: This region can be among those that honored those who gave all

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Remembering: This region can be among those that honored those who gave all

Carlton Reiner has a dream.

When the mobile, half-sized replica of the Vietnam Veterans National Memorial in Washington, D.C., arrives in Warsaw, he wants to be among the small number of communities that have honored all of those who gave all during the war.

And that means reading 58,000 names — a memorial to every sailor, soldier, airman or Marine who stepped up to fight for his or her country and who died doing so.

There are more than just the names of those who were lost in the Vietnam War on the wall. There are servicemen who are listed as missing in action — whose families still do not have an ending to their stories or a casket with a body to bury.

They will be remembered, too.

Only three communities have been able to read the entire list of names during the wall’s stay in their town.

Reiner hopes Warsaw’s name will be added to that list.

To make that happen, he needs people who are willing to give some of their time this weekend to read.

That seems to be a very small gesture to honor the young men and women who gave so much to this country.

The war memorial’s visit to this area is an honor — and to see it is one of the most moving experiences you will ever have — unless, of course, you get the chance to see the real wall in Washington.

Just as they do there, mourners, family members, friends and fellow veterans will come to the traveling wall to pay tribute to loved ones and comrades long gone, but never forgotten.

Flowers, candles, notes — they all will be there in tribute to those who gave so much — and can only be thanked now with memories.

The wall is scheduled to arrive in Warsaw tomorrow and will remain there through the weekend.

It is a visit that no area family should miss. It will bring a part of history a little closer — and it will teach a lesson about courage and sacrifice that every child should see.

There will be veterans on hand to talk to visitors and there will be stories recounted about the heroes named on the memorial. Those mentions alone will remind you just how many people there are still in this country who remember and care.

And seeing the wall will make you proud to be an American, too.

And if you can, take some time to read names this weekend. It will be your chance to say thank you to a hero.

Published in Editorials on May 2, 2007 11:44 AM