This publication is the exclusive property of cj Schlottman, and is protected under the US Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws. The contents of this blog may not be reproduced as a whole or in part, by any means whatsoever, without consent of the author, cj Schlottman. All rights reserved.

Please Visit My Other Blogs!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Wall @ Small Stories and Stuff



I know School Marm, Jenny Matlock, likes to see stories and poems on Saturday Centus, but this week’s prompt, “The wall was built long ago,” led me toward a small personal essay. To learn all about Saturday Centus, please click on the button on my sidebar. You can't miss it!


Here is my offering for this week.



I visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall on Veteran’s Day, 1993, the year the Women's Memorial was dedicated. Clint met with some of the people from his unit, the field hospital in Saigon. During 13 months together, they cared for young GIs, sending some to R&R, others home in body bags.


I was overwhelmed by the simplicity of the wall, engraved as it is with thousands of names, it stretched gracefully across the grass.


It was hot, dozens of people milling around, many of them openly weeping, searching for names of loved ones lost. The directory led me to the name I had come to see - Lamar Smith - dead just two months after deployment, right out of high school.


Lamey, as we called him, was a dear boy. Senior year, he had a crush on me and when I had my appendix out, he came every day after school to sit with me in hospital.


I wept as I traced his name.


He was not “college material,” and if he had lived, he would likely have gone to work for one of the local plants, but he may have come home motivated to persue a loftier career. He never had the chance to know.


© cj Schlottman



Addendum: When you go to The Wall, please also visit the Women's Memorial, a moving bronze of nurses ministering to a wounded soldier, a monument to their dedication and perseverance. I'm sorry it took so long for the Memorial to be erected. 250,000 women served in Vietnam - every one of them a volunteer.

15 comments:

Nonna Beach said...

Excellent Job !

Your intimate, touching and beautiful story hit me very hard. I have never gone to a High School class reunion because I knew many of my classmates probably went to Vietnam, some never to return home. I couldn't handle the pain of knowing...

Judie said...

CJ, this is a wonderful piece. I know some of the names on that wall, too. One, Len McCormick, was a wonderful young man and a fine musician. He would no doubt made a name for himself in the music field, had he come home. Wars take so many good people away from us forever.

Sue said...

I have always wanted to visit this memorial, and I loved reading your account, CJ.

So lovely and well-written.

Thanks.

=)

jeff campbell said...

Wonderful piece CJ...I did not know any who did not come back, but a number that did...and experienced their trials and tribulations. I was fortunate in that I missed the draft by a year or so...even so, I felt so connected that war, and many of those who were there. It all, and what goes on today is a source of deep sadness for me...Peace and blessings

Dazee Dreamer said...

That wall is something I really want to see. You have made it an even higher desire.

Jo said...

The wall, that wall is such a powerful piece, I have only been once, and i found the loss, the grief, overwhelming ...you piece is very well written.

Jenny said...

Oh CJ. This was so poignant and touching. I really felt your heart in this writing.

Thank you for sharing such a heart-felt memory with us.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

This is so sweet, sad and powerful. It's an excellent piece.
xoRobyn

Ames said...

CJ this was so touching. It's good that you remembered Lamey. He would have liked that. ~Ames

Kat said...

I loved your use of this week's prompt C.J. This was so touching, and heartfelt. The tragedy of all of those lives cut short is heartrending. I have seen the "mini wall" that travels around the country, and it is a sobering sight. Thanks for sharing this. Kat

Deborah said...

The simplicity and power of a name on a wall, so very sad.

Rek said...

This is so poignant and yet inspiring...your simple styling brings out the tragic loss of young lives.

Athena said...

CJ, I loved this piece.

My dad served in Vietnam and my stepbrother's dad died there. I've been to see the memorial twice and it moved me greatly. I know that many men my father served with are on that wall and it never fails to bring me to silence, in both thought and word.

The nurse's memorial I saw for the first time in 2009, on Veteran's Day. It was beautiful, touching and haunting -- all at once.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Tgoette said...

A very touching and heartfelt piece, CJ! And so beautifully crafted. Thank you for sharing.

heartland frugalista said...

A very nice tribute. The war is a difficult thing to process. My family was there:
http://tinyurl.com/64au22b