Despite the strong winds Sunday, hundreds of Central Texas residents made their way to the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery to visit The Wall That Heals.
The Wall is a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. it arrived in the Killeen area Wednesday afternoon.
Since the Wall went up Wednesday, more than 3,000 people have visited the memorial, with some people paying their respects to the soldiers in general, while others looked for specific names on the list of the fallen.
“My friend and I were stationed at Fort Bragg together,” said Jose Hernandez, who was looking for the name of his friend, Ralph O’Hill. “I’ve never been to see the wall in D.C., before so when I heard this one was going to be here, I wanted to come and pay my respects.”
Hernandez had a photo of O’Hill and himself at Fort Bragg that he said was taken one month before O’Hill deployed to Vietnam.
When Hernandez found his friend’s name, he took a rubbing and pressed his head against the spot for a quick prayer.
“This brings a sense of closure,” Hernandez said.
The Wall is an exact three-fourths replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., right down to the 120 degree angle in the middle of the memorial that forms the “V” of the Wall.
“The Wall That Heals started traveling around the country in 1996, but this particular Wall was created last winter, so this is only the second time it has been set up,” Tim Tetz with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund said. “When the Wall leaves Sunday, it will be heading to Oro Valley, Arizona.”
Tetz said the memorial is traditionally set up in centralized locations that can support the design of the entire Wall.
The Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery was chosen because it had ample space to display the memorial.
“(The soldiers in the Vietnam War) did a great service for us and they don’t always get recognized,” memorial visitor Michelle Trudo said. “I just wanted to come out and pay my respects and do whatever I could to honor them.”