The Geneva Accords temporarily divided Vietnam into two distinct parts: the North and the South. This was an attempt made by the French to accept the end of their colonial rule in Vietnam however the division of Vietnam at the 17th parallel only ignited a gruesome 20 year conflict that began in 1955.
During The Cold War, the U.S. became consumed with preventing other nations from falling to communism. The United States involvement in The Vietnam War is a product of their fear of communism. This fear instigated Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson to escalate the war in Vietnam. According to Vietnam Statistics, “9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam Era (Aug. 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975).” This number is truly astounding especially considering many Americans were unaware of the true purpose of America’s involvement in the war.
The Vietnam War took 58,220 American lives. The Vietnam War impacted the lives of so many individuals that since the war ended a memorial was put up in Washington. This memorial was designed by Maya Lin after her design was anonymously picked by panel of designers and artists. Although loved by many there was some controversy following Maya Lin’s design.
Author Tom Wolfe called it “a tribute to [anti-war activist] Jane Fonda.”
Vietnam veteran Jim Webb, a future U.S. Senator, referred to it as “a nihilistic slab of stone,” and political commentator Pat Buchanan accused one of the design judges of being a communist,” according to history.com.
Even with the controversy that followed the design of the memorial the sentiment that was expressed was universally known. Since the memorial in Washington has touched so many lives a replica titled The Wall that Heals was made to travel across the country and continue to touch the lives of so many people.
On March 22 the Wall that Heals visited Lone Hill Middle School. For four days the replica will be at Lone Hill and on the 25th the wall will be packed up and transported to its next location.
Linda Mustion, a military researcher, historian, biographer, and volunteer for the Wall that Heals graciously shared her story of working with the wall.
“I have two classmates from Burbank High class of 67 on the wall. The Moving Wall came to Burbank in 1998 and I’ve been doing traveling wall ever since for the last 20 years on and off,” she said.
When asked how she believes veterans are impacted by the wall she said, “For some its very very emotional all they have to do is walk half way up and they don’t go any further. Some still to this day won’t go to the wall because its too hard for them. Others come and they will stand at a name and just look for hours in the hot sun. Not move and just stare at one name and they move to another name and do it for another 30 minutes.” While most of the soldiers on the wall are about 21 years old Linda Mustion said, “The youngest person on the wall was 15 years old, Dan Bullock, he forged his birth certificate and joined the Marine Core at 14 celebrated his 15th birthday in boot camp, sent to Vietnam and killed just short of his 16th birthday and nobody knew his true age until his body was returned home.”
The tragedy of Vietnam is overwhelming for many veterans and the families of those veterans.