[5440 note: this post is taken verbatim from a comment left by a vet on the original post that revealed that the monument was shut down for most of the day, during prime visiting hours. I found it so eloquent that I wanted to make a separate blog post out of it.]
I and my wife along with many of my former colleagues and their family members were turned away from the Vietnam Memorial Wall by Secret Service agents at the barricades along Constitution Avenue in the early morning on Memorial Day. A large contingent of my unit, the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, and their family members have assembled annually on Memorial Day at the “Wall” for the past 25 years to honor our 738 brothers whose names are stenciled on that magnificant black granite wall. Each attending veteran has the opportunity to speak to the assembly of 11th Cavalry brothers identifying themselves, their 11th Cavalry unit, and their current address, and providing pertinent information of interest to the group. These individual comments are followed by general comments from our association (The 11th Armored Cavalry’s Veterans of Vietnam and Cambodia) President, Allen Hathaway. This is followed by a prayful tribute to our fallen brothers. Thereafter, the Cavalry contingent proceeds to the apex of the Wall where a shield of beautiful red and white roses is placed; the ensamble is artistically designed in the image of our Regimental ensignia, “The Blackhorse”, and honors our brothers who gave everything they had. It is an annual event of healing which maintains the bond among all Cavalry brothers, those who survived their Tours of Duty, those who did not, and those who have subsequently passed on to Fiddlers’ Green.
This year owing to the President’s agenda we were denied for the first time this annual period of honor and healing at the apex of the” Wall.” Not withstanding some quiet comments of disappoinment, the contingent of 11th Cavalry troopers was orderly and proceeded with ceremonies on the sidewalk of Constitution Avenue. Although I noted an increased flow of tears undoubedly due to the denial of access, my pride in this extraordinary assemblage of courageous and honorable brothers will never be forgotten! Nonetheless, it is inexcusable and unconsciousable that these men and women veterans and their famailies were denied their sacred rights at the Wall on Memorial Day. I only hope that the politically priveleged with passes who heard the President speak that day at the Wall appreciate the sacrifices of my 738 brothers, the very best of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.
Dr. Lane D. Schultz