The Bayonet

Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2014

Traveling wall finds permanent home at museum

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Families gathered Friday for the Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall Dedication ceremony at the National Infantry Museum, following the graduation of Infantry Soldiers from C Company, 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment.

The Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall traveled throughout the U.S. for 23 years and mirrored the original Vietnam Wall, located in Washington D.C. Now it is part of the permanent memorial to Vietnam veterans alongside the Heritage Walk at the NIM.

The keynote speaker was retired Col. Jack Jacobs, a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions during the Vietnam War.

"We are truly lucky to have a nation in which people are willing to do whatever it takes in order to protect us," he said.

Jacobs, who called Fort Benning his home because it was where he began his military career, said he was in the military for 20 years because he couldn't stand to be without people in uniform.

"We fight to defend the country and we fight to accomplish the mission. But we will never forget that most of all - we fight for each other," he said. "If we don't forget that we will be in very good shape indeed."

Retired U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Orson Swindle, a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, attended the dedication. He was a guest speaker during the Vietnam Memorial Symposium Thursday.

Swindle said the Vietnam Wall was "beautifully done" and was a great addition to Columbus and Fort Benning.

A resident of Washington, D.C., he has visited the wall there many times. "It's about remembrance ... and we make an effort to always remember. Because if you forget - it's gone," Swindle said. "We're only one generation away from forgetting it all. It's your obligation to remember and make sure the legend goes on."

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