I got an email from listener about The Moving Wall. This monument is half the size of the original Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. There was an oppurtunity to talk with Veterans in Attleboro, MA about how this exhibit is coming to Attleboro, MA.
The Attleboro Veterans Service Officer, Ken Badertscher, along with two Vietnam Veterans came to Attleboro VFW Post 115 to talk with me about their experiences and what The Moving Wall meant to them.
As we began talking it became clear that the Vietnam War was still fresh on their minds. Both Vietnam War Veterans said that they had been healing even after all these years.. The Moving Wall shows them they are not forgotten.
And that is really the core issue with many Vietnam Veterans. For a long time, America forgot about them. America did not honor their service. These Vietnam Veterans who are alive today and are reminded of that fact. However, they are hopeful because of events like The Moving Wall. Seeing the entire city of Attleboro come together to bring this event to the region means that younger generations want to ensure stories are told. The sacrifices and ones lost will be remembered as those who answered the call, or in the case of the Vietnam War, those who didn’t have a choice to serve.
I will be going to this event, and I am looking forward to talking with these Veterans again. You all are not forgotten.
“Travis, get with Dennis Donahue, he escorted the Vietnam Wall that Heals to Weymouth.” Sometimes it goes just like that with my producer Keith Hayes aka Sinista1;) I knew the mobile Vietnam Veterans Wall was coming the Union Point, or what is locally known as South Weymouth Naval Air Station. I had already set Episode 103, so if I followed the schedule this podcast would have come out long after The Wall that Heals left Weymouth, MA. This was a problem because it could 10 or more years before this Wall came back. So Episode 103 and 104 dropped on the same day. The Wall that Heals is a mobile scaled down version of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. and Dennis was part of a motorcycle escort from Canton, MA to Union Point in South Weymouth, MA.
Dennis served over two decades in the U.S. Army. He was deployed to Iraq and when he got out of the Army he had to adjust to civilian life. He missed the brotherhood and camaraderie of being in the Army and felt alone.
Around that time, Dennis got with the VA and 22Kill Boston to help him deal with his PTSD. He got help and started feeling better, and he was around people who cared about him. One of the ways Dennis gives back now is riding with the Patriot Guard Riders. The Patriot Guard Riders is an organization that does escorts, honor guard and funeral ceremonies for Veterans. We talked about how families and people in the community appreciate seeing the Patriot Guard Riders.
We both want everyone to go to The Wall That Heals while it is here. It is open 24 hours a day right now until Sunday, July 29th. I can’t wait to ride with Dennis and it is amazing how something like a motorcycle can help someone help someone else. Thank you for your service.
The Wall That Heals
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Replica & Mobile Education Center
Visits Union Point (South Weymouth Naval Air Stations) – Weymouth, MA
Richard Fitts Jr. invited to come watch the pre-release version of “21 Years a Folded Flag” at the Bridgewater, MA Public Library. I was pleased to see how many people came to support Richard and Rudy’s labor of love. It was standing room only by the time Richard and Rudy got up to introduce the film. They were happy and honored to see everyone.
It was clear to see that they were very proud of their work. No small amount of sacrifice and effort has gone into getting the film to this point. I feel that this a unique experience that you can’t miss if you had family members who served in the Vietnam War or want to know more about our country during that time.
As I watched this film, I was drawn into the story in Laos and here in Abington, MA. Not to give away all the good parts, but there is a scene about a third of the way into the film that stopped the room cold. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing and it set the tone for the remainder of the film. You will need to watch and see if you agree with me.
A thought occurred to me as I watched Richard Fitts Jr. recount his memories. Many times children are left out of the conversation when it comes to the grieving process. Watching Richard at all stages of his life until there is closure was a stark reminder that everyone pays a price for the life we enjoy in America today.
Keep checking back here and on Richard’s Facebook Page for more information about this project. You don’t want to miss this story about a son honoring is father’s service and his family’s sacrifice.
A big thanks to Mistress Carrie from WAAF for having Richard Fitts Jr. and Rudy Childs on to talk about this project.
I met with Richard Fitts Jr. and Rudy Childs on a cold April Sunday. Believe it or not it can get really cold and nasty during Spring in New England. We were meeting to talk about his documentary, “21 Years a Folded Flag”. Looking at the trailer got me interested in this story because I feel that Vietnam Veterans and Gold Star Family Members still get shut out compared to other wars and conflicts.
This documentary is about Richard Fitts Sr. who was a Green Beret in the Army. He lost his life in Laos on November 30th 1968 during a top secret, classified mission.
Richard was two years old at the time, and never got to know his father. Sitting there listening to him talk, I couldn’t imagine what that must have been like. It wasn’t until over 20 years later that the Fitts family got to find out what had happened to Richard Sr.
Richard wanted tell this story to keep his father’s memory alive. Rudy Childs started working on this film project and it became a labor of love. Richard and Rudy entered this film into a festival in Maryland and it almost won. They are proud of their work and I am looking forward to seeing the finished product. Check out their fundraiser (Fund my story/”green beret father”), and consider donating to help get this story told.
Check out the Sneak Preview to “21 Years a Folded Flag” on YouTube