Sunday, October 21, 2012
As Vietnam veteran Clyde Lindsey of Wichita searches for his own sense of closure, he's helping others find peace by etching one name at a time.
"It's just something I felt like I needed to do," said Lindsey, a member of VFW Post 2715 in McPherson.
Lindsey decided to volunteer at the moving Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Valley Center. There he helps other people find names of loved ones, helping to etch the name onto a slip of white paper for them to take home.
But he's also had time to find the names of his own friends who died in the war.
"It's close to my heart," Lindsey said. "I lost a couple of buddies in Vietnam in '69."
Lindsey is one of many volunteers helping to make the Moving Wall experience possible.
Visitors were able to visit the wall beginning Friday. The wall will remain open in Valley Center's Lions Park (316 E. Clay) through Monday at 2 p.m.
"We've had many people from different (American) Legion posts, VFW, Purple Heart Association," said Jake Liby, a moving wall committee member and veteran, who is also Commander of Legion Post 268 in Sedgwick. "They've all given their time to help support put on this wall."
High schoolers are also there in force to help. All these groups have come together to keep the wall staffed 24 hours a day and to make sure everything runs smoothly, despite the steady crowds and road blocks.
"We haven't had any problems with parking. We haven't had any problems with traffic flow," Liby said.
Leaders say there really hasn't been a problem with anything since the wall was installed. When they went to install the panels, they found the base they built wasn't exactly level but it only took 20 minutes to fix.
Even the weather has cooperated.
"Nothing has gone wrong, it's been been great because of the volunteers," Valley Center Mayor Mike McNown said.
The volunteers have helped do everything from handing out information to shuttling those who need assistance.
Five to six buses have shuttled people to and from the parking areas in addition to the golf carts driven by volunteers to take people around the park.
McNown says the volunteers have been essential to giving the community this important experience.
"This would not happen without them," McNown said. "We couldn't do it."
While McNown is thankful to volunteers such as Clyde Lindsey, it's Lindsey who says he's thankful to everyone involved for allowing him the experience.
"It's something close to my heart," Lindsey said. "Always has been. Always will be."
Col. Herb Duncan with the Kansas Honor Flight was at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Valley Center Sunday afternoon. He says the Kansas Honor Flight, which traditionally takes World War II veterans to see their memorial in Washington D.C., has the goal of beginning to take Vietnam and Korean War veterans on the all-expense-paid trip.
He says the first flight for veterans of those wars could be in Spring of 2013.
Duncan says the organization received a big boost toward that goal Sunday night when he accepted almost $35,000 in community donations. It costs the organization about $650 to send each person on the flight, Duncan said.
For applications to take the Honor Flight and for more information please visit: www.centralprairiehonorflights.org