Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall another step in healing
By Lailani Upham
The traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall that Heals on wheels made a half hour stop in the parking lot of DHRD and Quicksilver at noon on Tuesday. (Lailani Upham photo)
PABLO — A long line of nearly 80 motorcycles escorted The Healing Wall, a traveling version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, passed through the towns of the Flathead Reservation on Tuesday.
A motorcycle honor guard began in Missoula and ended in Whitefish and picked up bikers along the way, said Ronan resident and Navy veteran Bob Bell.
CSKT Tribal Council members Ron Trahan, Army veteran and Lloyd Irvine, Navy veteran share thoughts of the display while Flathead Warrior Society members stand guard. (Lailani Upham photo)
Bell, a pre-Vietnam veteran, led the escort.
The mobile Healing Wall will be set up at the Grouse Mountain Lodge this week from Thursday to Sunday in Whitefish and will be open 24 hours a day.
Special ceremonies are planned each day and an opening ceremony will be on Thursday at 10 a.m. State Commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars will be master of ceremonies and Lt. Gov. John Walsh will be guest speaker.
Wreaths will be laid at the memorial.
Friday at 10 a.m., guest speaker will be Sarah Hartland, the 2012-13 Voice of Democracy third place contest winner.
Saturday at 10 a.m., the Eagle Scout Hugh Ramlow will be the guest speaker for Youth Day.
Sunday at 4 p.m. will be the closing ceremony.
Visitors for the ceremonies are encouraged to bring chairs.
American military branch service and support for the troops flags are posted on motorcycles for the escort travel. (Lailani Upham photo)
The memorial displays a half-scale replica of the Washington D.C. Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Bell said stopping through the reservation was very important for the healing of the families. “It wasn’t right what they did to those boys when they returned.”
It was a bitter homecoming for Vietnam veterans. They were treated with disdain after returning from the Vietnam War. Many people were opposed to that particular conflict and wanted the returning soldiers to feel bad about having been there, fighting a war America did not want.
Nearly 80 motorcycle veterans were added by the time the Healing Wall arrived in Pablo. More were expected to join the escort before the Whitefish destination said Bell. (Lailani Upham photo)
The traveling entourage of motorcycle veterans was not just a memorial symbol.
“It all come from here,” Bell said touching his heart as he fought back tears.