Moving Vietnam Wall Comes to Region 8

April 23, 2004 -- Posted at 5:22 p.m. CDT

WYNNE -- The Vietnam War claimed more than 58,000 lives--roughly the entire population of Jonesboro, and those fallen are honored on a memorial in Washington, D.C. But if you can't make it to the nation's capital, you can see the exhibit right here in Region 8.

"I never got to meet him so it's kind of hard. I've seen pictures, but never met him in person," said Dana Symansic of her uncle that died in Vietnam.

Symansic never met her uncle and she had never seen his name on the memorial wall until today.

"We look at it as he served his time, so he's there on the wall," said Symansic as she wiped away tears.

The Moving Wall is now in Wynne, and for some it may be the closest they can get to paying their respects to those who paid the ultimate price for freedom.

"It's hard to swallow, all those boys gone, and still bad, any way you want to look at it," said Coith Mooney who lost his cousin in the war.

The names on the Vietnam Wall do not reflect rank, race or religion. Before some names are a plus sign which means that the person is a POW or MIA. If their remains are discovered the plus sign will be filled into a diamond to indicate that they died in the Vietnam War. But for those who lost loved ones, the wall is especially moving.

Paulette Frames lost her younger brother in the war, and knelt at the wall to reflect on his name.

"It just makes you think back at how young he was and what he did for the country," she said while fighting back tears.

"All of our young boys, I mean, young boys, nothing but just kids. But we made it through, but it's still hard to take," said Mooney.

But getting the wall to Wynne wasn't any easy task. The Cross County Veterans Memorial Committee put in a request in 1999, and this will be it's only stop in Arkansas this year.

Marguerite Burt, the chair for the committee to bring the Wall to Wynne said the wait was worth it.

"It's just absolutely awe inspiring to know that all those men gave their lives for you and me," said Burt.

"There's not very many people who can come up and say, hey my uncle is on this wall, my grandfather or something like that. They can't do that," said Symansic.

Because of bad weather, opening ceremonies for the wall have been pushed back until Monday morning at 10 o'clock instead of Saturday. The wall will be in Wynne until April 29th, and is open to visit 24 hours a day.