Chance to clean memorial wall becomes opportunity to heal from war

For those who fought for our country and made it home safely, their service can be haunting.  A group of veterans from Pensylvania made the trip to D.C. to visit the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.

Alexandra Limon tells us the story about one veteran searching for closure through his first visit to the memorial.

Ron Curtis has never seen the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall.

“It was like it was hands pushing me away,” he says.

Curtis flew army helicopters in Vietnam.

“And the PTSD and all those medivacs really ripped my heart out. I feel guilty that some of them died on  my chopper.

For years, Curtis lived just miles away in Maryland and in 1982 he marched in the dedication for the memorial, but still he couldn’t bring himself close to the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

But when this group of veterans from Bedford County, Penn., heard they could volunteer–to clean the wall–they jumped at the chance.

“It’s going to be the closing of a chapter for me. With my survivor guilt, I’m hoping just to come to terms with it.”

But life doesn’t always go as planned. The cleaning couldn’t happen. The parks service didn’t show up with supplies.

But Curtis says, “It didn’t affect anything, not for me.”

In the end, the trip was as more about healing, than cleaning.

William Roy Mock, a Vietnam veteran, says “Not only are you looking at their names. But that reflection reminds you also that it could have possibly been me.”

Curtis says, “So I’m grateful that I got to come down here and touch the wall.  Hold my palms of my hands on people’s names, I never knew anybody’s names that I carried.”

It was about remembering those who didn’t make it home.

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