By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
Today, a half sized replica of the Vietnam War Wall Memorial will stop to rest in Garden Grove at Garden Grove Park. It is called “The Moving Wall” and it has been touring the country for over 20 years.
It is not a novelty. It is not a toy.
It is a heartfelt movement to memorialize those who lost their lives in one of the most controversial military involvements the United States ever participated in.
The Vietnam War claimed the lives of 58,000 men and women in the service of the United States and somewhere between one and two million Vietnamese service members and citizens.
Official major American involvement in the war lasted from 1965 to 1975, however, aid and support to Vietnam preceded those years.
For the members of the United States military, some were there voluntarily while others were drafted into conscription.
There are 41 names on the wall that came from Garden Grove.
The American involvement in the Vietnam conflict was an effort in preventing a “domino effect” of communist government power from succeeding.
The thought was that if one country became communist in Asia, it was just a matter of time until all countries became communist.
This was as a result of the Cold War, in which American and Soviet hostility was at its height.
Problems in the Vietnam War, some say, resulted from a lack of a clear front or defined enemy, low troop morale and conflict at home over involvement in the war.
“I first visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. when I was a student at Pacifica High School attending the Presidential Classroom Program. Seeing our present world reflected in the shiny black stone while reading the names of Americans that have died in Vietnam has always been a very moving experience for me,” said Bao Nguyen, Garden Grove Unified School District trustee, whose family fled Vietnam after the fall of Saigon.
Wartime journalist and civilian Bronze Star recipient Joe Galloway will be speaking at a fundraiser hosted at the wall on Saturday night. Galloway, who was deployed as a wartime correspondent during the Vietnam War, fought at the battle of Ia Drang Valley.
His experiences as a “fighting reporter” were made famous by his book, “We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young.”
The book was made into a movie starring Mel Gibson.
A passage from writings of Galloway’s titled, “A Reporter’s Journal from Hell,” say “You cannot always remain a witness, above and removed from the story you are covering. There are some events which demand your participation.”
The Moving Wall is brought to Garden Grove as a part of the National Vietnam War Museum of America program, which is charged with founding a museum site in Garden Grove.
The wall will be at Garden Grove Park, located at 9301 Westminster Ave. until Oct. 10. The wall will be available for visitation 24 hours a day until it leaves at 4 p.m. on Monday.