This month, Toledo is celebrating service and love of country.
As part of the Toledo Vietnam Appreciation Event, the Cost of Freedom Traveling Wall is on exhibit in International Park. A replica of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington on the National Mall, the wall is on display through today.
It includes the 58,272 names displayed on the original wall. They represent all the brave souls who died in Vietnam or are permanently missing from that war. A thousand motorcycles escorted the wall into Toledo, in a solemn and impressive display.
The appreciation event honors Vietnam-era veterans, both service members who deployed to Vietnam and those who didn’t deploy but served during the war. As with any other event honoring those who served, and those who paid the ultimate price in service to their country, the community embraces all veterans and currently serving military personnel.
Vietnam is not a forgotten war; that description, it is said, applies to Korea. But in the controversy that still surrounds the Vietnam conflict, there is a tendency to misplace those who served. We owe them our apologies for this, and our repeated and enduring thanks.
Last Memorial Day, President Obama, speaking at Arlington National Cemetery, asked whether the nation understands the sacrifice made by our military and their families. We see the physically and mentally wounded of the wars of the past 50 years, and wonder.
Today in Toledo, let us resolve never to take our veterans and our servicemen and women for granted. Pay them homage. Walk up to one and say thanks for his or her service. Go and look at the wall.