HAVELOCK, N.C. (WNCT) – In Craven County, the traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial from Washington, D.C. has made its stop in Havelock.
The Wall That Heals is officially on display in Walter B. Jones Park and will be there through this Sunday.
Over 58,000 names of the service members who lost their lives during the Vietnam War are listed along the wall. Many come from Eastern North Carolina.
“You can leave the country, but you don’t really leave it inside of you. It comes back with you,” said Gary Gillette.
Gillette is a volunteer while the wall is in town, but is also a Vietnam Veteran himself. He’s been reflecting on his time served alongside so many friends who are now listed on the memorial.
“I have one friend here that I wrestled with in high school,” said Gillette. “He went over just a short time after I did, but he didn’t come back. And it just, every time I see the wall, it tears me up. It really does.”
He and others add that it makes them think of the way many were treated when they returned from the war.
“It’s really fitting for them to call it what it is, the healing wall,” said the State Commander for DAV, James Hunter. “It is allowing a lot of families to try to bridge that gap of their loved ones not being respected or not being treated the way they should have been.”
Along with honoring the fallen, they’re also able to teach others about the history of the Vietnam War.
“A lot of the other high schools and elementary schools and we even got a couple homeschool groups that will be coming out during the tours to learn about it,” said Hunter. “To me, I think that is really a unique thing to be teaching our younger generation.”
After Sunday, it goes back on the road for its last two stops of the tour, including one at the Outer Banks.