Paying their respects

'Wall That Heals' brings back spirit, memories of Vietnam war dead

By Colleen Keane
Special to the Times

SANTA FE, N.M., March 27, 2014

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(Times photos - Donovan Quintero)

TOP: The American flag stands in front of The Moving Wall Memorial on Sunday, as a visitor pays his respects at Fort Marcy Field in Santa Fe. The half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial has been traveling the country since 1984.

MIDDLE: The POW/MIA flag blows about in the wind at Fort Marcy Field in Santa Fe on Sunday.

BOTTOM: Vietnam veteran Frank Mirabal from Taos, N.M., points to the name of his uncle, Manuel Martinez, for his daughter to see, during their visit to The Moving Wall Memorial, which made a stop in Santa Fe. Mirabal is a Marine Corps veteran and served from 1967 to 1968. “It’s touching. Lots of guys in my unit are on there,” he said.

The stark, jet-black aluminum wall made up of 24 panels stands about 5 feet high and stretches 83 yards.

It's half the size of the black granite Vietnam Veteran Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. But it's just as powerful.

Some say even more so, because the movable exhibit called the "Wall That Heals" brings the spirit and memories of loved ones home after more than 40 years.

Each of the names, of the 58,286 soldiers killed in combat during the Vietnam conflict, are etched onto the wall. Three hundred and ninety eight of them are New Mexican names. The movable wall has been to more than 300 communities across the United States since 1996.

From last Thursday to Sunday, the wall was set up in Santa Fe's Marcy Ball Park.

On Saturday night, about a thousand visitors quietly filtered into the park to listen to speakers, hear the reading of the names of fallen soldiers, pay respects to their loved ones and participate in a candlelight ceremony.

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