This letter is for the 58,307 of you who are listed on this wall, and for the 3 million or more Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian people who also had their lives taken before their time, as a result of the American war in Viet Nam.
Birth, life and even death are sacred—a beginning, a time to live, and a time to die. This is a normal and natural process, but when this process is interrupted violently and unnaturally, such as the American War in Viet Nam did to millions of human beings, and even beyond that, with the lasting post-traumatic trauma, anger, grief and sorrow the war brought to the people of these countries, death is not sacred anymore. War and killing make it profane.
What remains sacred, always, is the memory of who you were, of who loved you and whom you loved. What is sacred and can never be taken away is the love you all once had for life, which in some way is represented here on this wall, where people visit and look, read and reflect. Your stories are here, even when they are not written. Each name is a story, and for some who visit, the nameless, the millions unable to be listed here are also remembered. Tears flow and hearts open for even those not known personally.
As people’s hearts open, that invisible but very real connection, that you are remembered and loved, even by strangers, flows from the living over your souls and maybe you can have peace, and some rest.
But we the living cannot take rest, cannot know peace, as long as war persists, as long as injustice and cruelty persists, as long as hatred persists. What is sacred for us is the duty to remain truly human, to love, which means to remember, and in remembering to resist that which is profane.
We have come to understand that militarism and war are linked to other evils in our society such as sexism, racism, poverty and environmental catastrophe, all of which must be resisted and eventually transformed in order for lasting peace to be possible.
So this is our sacred bond with you who are listed here on this wall and with those millions who are not. We will love and not forget you and as long as it takes, we will struggle for the peace, you, the dead, and we, the living, deserve.
Soon, for the rest of us, especially veterans, who were lucky and who did not die because of that terrible and unnecessary war, our time will be over and we will join you. And then, as that great sacred leveler, Death, brings us together again, we will know some peace.
Until then, brothers and sisters, we will continue the struggle—for all of you and for the future, so that none of you will have died in vain.
U.S. Army Airborne
I’ve never seen you in person. There is a mobile wall that travels around the country. I saw it when it came to Nashville and was moved to tears. All those names; over 58,000 of them. And they died for what? To add insult to injury there are no mention of the 4 million Vietnamese who died; the vast majority of whom were innocent.
And what about the wounded (Limbs lost; PTSD)?
And what about the families?
Anyone who thinks a war can be won is a fool.
Veterans For Peace Board Member
Message to the Wall 2017
Brothers and Sisters,
I think of you often.
I think of how much you’ve missed and have been missed.
I think of the love and beauty you’ve missed.
You were robbed by war and the lies of our leaders.
They took from you what was most valuable: your life.
In return, they put your name on this wall.
Sadly, our leaders learned all the wrong lessons.
They learned how to make war easier and to hide its consequences.
And so, needless, foolish wars continue.
You can no longer shout or be heard.
But many of your comrades are standing and speaking out for you.
Know you are remembered.
Know you are loved.
Know you still matter and will matter so long as goodness exists in the world.
Rest in Peace.
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation