Blogs » As Sweet As Can Be With Diabetes » Traveling Vietnam Wall

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Most people would expect to be affected by viewing the Traveling Vietnam Wall (aka The Wall), looking at all those names and realizing that they lost their lives serving our country. I recently volunteered at such an event, but I wasn't affected as I thought I would..it was more.

The week actually started out very gloomy, full of rain and more rain. I went out on the second day of the event with a co-worker to volunteer. When we arrived we had a light drizzle and we joked about how the weather was not working with us. When we walked inside we realized that not even the rain was going to keep people away. The place was half full with visiters waiting for a break in the bad weather to go out to the wall. Once signed in we were given our assignment, the concession stand..only due to the weather it wasn't a stand..it was a tent. That's right, this girly girl who has never spent a day outside other than at a football game was outiside..in the rain..in a tent. Oh, and not just any tent..a military tent with the flaps and the zipper doors and the absence of a floor..correct..no floor. But let us not get to that missing floor yet. Once we located our tent we noticed it was pitch black inside. The lady who was with us stated that in order to have light you have to roll up the flaps and let the light shine in. Really? Yes, really. So my co-worker and I started rolling up the flaps.. and that is when it began to pour. We were going to stop until we saw that our tent was still pretty dark..so we continued on to raise more flaps. Once done we ran inside only to find ourself wet to the bone..soaking wet. I sat down in one of the chairs, almost ready to fume, posted it to my facebook, and got a reply. A friend of mine who served in military (he's out now), and his comment? - " I don't miss that part at all ". That comment alone made me sit down and reasses my situation. I looked around and saw all the other tents open and people were sitting down and visiters were walking from one tent to the other. I looked at the ground, water splashing through, my feet soaked. I realized, this is what our military lives in. Its not a camp out, it's not a volunteered two hours at a community event...this is where they live. Day in and day out, they live in these tents, with no floors and no running water and no indoor plumbing, no kitchen .. just a tent. Then I started thinking about all the friends I have in the service, all the former students I had who are now in the service..and all the kids that have already signed up to join..I had tears. My fume died, and I began my work in the concession tent.
Some time passed, the weather got worse and off all things a big gust of wind semi lifted our tent and we had to retie it. Yes, girly girl me was on my knees in a tent, soaking wet trying to retie the tent down..but I was not going to complain. I had just settled everything down in regards to our product when a man from California came in..a vetern from the Korean Conflict. He stood in our tent, held back his grin (we did look pretty sad) and said, " yep, this brings back memories " He told us how how there would be about three to four cots in that tent, it was hot, water leaked through the windows, and we better push up on the top or the water was going to make our tent rip. My co-worker did so and low and behold a large amount of water fell over the side. I asked him if he really lived in a tent like this.. he said no..this one was better. A new respect for our troops.

After my time was up I had to go to work.. yes in soaked clothes... and when people commented I shared what I experienced. Some of my co-workers thought I was crazy to stand out there, but I disagreed with them. Our service men and women do this daily, I can handle a few hours.

On the last day of the wall we had beautiful weather and I finally had a chance to view The Wall. When arriving at the site there were so many people inside. I walked in and listened to various stories going on, from veterns to families talking about their loved ones..the stories filled the room. Once through the building I came out to the area where you walked to see The Wall. As I walked the sounds of conversations and laughter difted away..and it was becoming more and more quiet. Then it was silence, just the sound of my feet on the pavement, The Wall a couple of feet in front of me. When I reached the wall and read the first few names I became very overwhelmed. I couldn't keep up with all the names, my head was spinning from all the information. Name after name after name...all who died in this war...all who left families behind...all of their names etched on this wall. Along the grouds their were roses, flowers, pictures..laid out like a memorial, a memorial that they never got. I am sometimes over emotional but only when it counts and that day it counted. I will never forget my unusual experience at The Wall. And please do not take my tent comments as negative..I wasn't complaining about the event or how it was organized..I have just never been in a tent.