There wasn't a doubt in my mind what I would be doing that afternoon when I heard the Vietnam Memorial Wall Replica was in town.
I'd had other opportunities to visit the replica and even the actual wall, but couldn't, for reasons you might understand if you're one who has lost a loved one in war.
But on this day, I was going. Thoughts raced through my mind as I made the twenty-minute drive to visit this memorial.
How would I feel?
Would I cry?
Would I be affected in any way?
I really just didn't know. I felt somber. I felt like I was about to face a fear that has been in my life for so many years. My Mom and siblings have all been to the Wall in Washington D.C.
This was to be my first time.
It was bigger than I thought it would be. There were just a small amount of people there, which was good. I gathered my thoughts and started walking towards the wall. I felt tense. A little afraid of my emotions.
Other people were standing close to the wall, looking at it, talking.
I walked straight towards it. Not looking at anyone, thinking, waiting. I had looked up which panel his name was on and found it to be just to the left of the first spot I walked up to.
When I spotted his name, the tears immediately began to flow and I was kneeling before this black shiny name covered wall.
I wondered about the people walking by me ... did they see or hear me crying? What did they think? And then I just knew it didn't matter.
This wall represents life. It represents love. It represents death. People cry here.
I've mourned the loss of my Dad, but this was different. Seeing his name surrounded by all the other names connected him to the life and loss of the whole war.
One day, I'll go to Washington D.C. and see this memorial in person.
This is my first time ever to share on Memorial Day about my Dad. Last year on the anniversary of Daddy's death shared publicly for the first time about the day of his death. If you'd like, you can read that post here.
He was named Milford Marvin Tognazzini.