DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. -- The traveling Vietnam Memorial arrived in DeSoto County with a motorcycle escort and will open Wednesday night with all the pomp and circumstance afforded a visiting dignitary.
Some of those who helped install this wall are also some who could end up fighting future wars.
Elizabeth Clausen aims to serve her country as a soldier, and to learn as much about past wars as she can, especially Vietnam.
That’s why she’s helping install the traveling Vietnam Memorial at the Landers Center.
”All those women and men came and they were reading the names and found relatives and they saw them and they just broke down in tears and it just broke my heart."
It was America’s first widely unpopular war, and to this day triggers emotions in those involved.
”I’m a Vietnam veteran and I didn’t get to go, but a lot of my friends did and, well, it’s just to try to keep the memory of ‘em,” said organizer R.G. Moore as he struggled to hold back tears.
That’s why Moore helped bring the mobile wall back to DeSoto, after its last visit in 2012.
”We had people come from up in Illinois between 12, 15-hundred last time that came here."
He’s hoping for bigger numbers for this visit, not just from Vietnam veterans, but people looking to learn about freedom and sacrifice.
”I mean, you come out here and see all of these names on the wall stretched out so far and it, it’s breathtaking,” said Horn Lake ROTC student Seth Ponetti.
It gives future soldiers like Elizabeth Clausen a sense of duty and courage.
”If these people can be brave and go out on foreign ground, I can be brave."
The opening ceremony, hosted by WREG’s Todd Demers, gets underway at 7 p.m., with a keynote speech from Chancery Judge Percy Lynchard.
The wall will remain here until the morning of June 16th.