MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s a special time in Murfreesboro as volunteers construct The Wall That Heals, TriStar – a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Engraved in stone are the more than 58,000 service members killed in the conflict. American heroes to strangers. Friends, to Don Marchant. The Vietnam veteran has certain names he’ll be looking for, “I can’t wait to be able to do it.”
Marchant speaks their names proudly. “You’ve got Ronnie Hatfield, ’70 graduate of Woodham High School. You’ve got Aaron Andrews, Tommy Barns, Barry Barns. These gentlemen mean a lot to me. They never came back.”
Honoring their sacrifice was a mission Iraq War veteran Brandi Majerus kickstarted. She petitioned The Wall That Heals to travel to Middle Tennessee for the first time since its creation in 1996. “It goes generational. Each one has made it better for the next. And their goal to not let us be forgotten, also means that we can’t forget them,” said Majerus.
Stretching 375 feet in length, standing 7.5 feet high at its tallest point, Majerus’ co-coordinator said this Veterans Day take pause and recognize a group of U.S. troops who faced scorn as the war became increasingly unpopular. “We wouldn’t be able to be here today if it weren’t for veterans who laid it all on the line to be able to give us those freedoms,” Corey Kemper said.
Overcoming the lingering stress of war – News 2 looks at what’s being done to help those who have served keep their voices heard in special reports all-day Veterans Day, in every newscast, and on wkrn.com.
It’s never too late to welcome them home and it means more than Marchant can explain. “It’s a homecoming for me,” he said, fighting back tears, “to see that they’re not forgotten.”