The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

March/April 2004
GLIMPSES OF THE VIRTUAL WALL
   
 

Go To www.virtualwall.org

BY KAREN SPEARS ZACHARIAS

The Virtual Wall web site honors the men and women on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The site has tributes, letters, photographs, poems, and citations submitted by thousands of people.

The Virtual Wall is the creation of a VVA member. It began in March 1997 and is now operated by three veterans and the daughter of a Vietnam War casualty. The phrase "The Virtual Wall'' is a registered trademark of the not-for-profit organization, www.VirtualWall.org, Ltd.

What follows are excerpts from four memorials listed at The Virtual Wall:

William Branch, 2/14th 25 Infantry, KIA 6/6/70
A memorial from his daughter, Jennifer Branch Denard: I was very small when he died on what was to be his last mission over Dau Tieng, a place I couldn't find on a map. I could not put to words the angry images that filled my young heart. Twisted metal. Machine gun fire. A yellowed telegram. I longed to see my mother miss him, but I could not bear to ask her to go back. I had always known how he died. What I wanted was to know how he lived and how he loved.

Mark Clotfelter, 361st Aerial Weapons Company "Pink Panthers," KIA 6/16/69 A memorial from his sister, Susan Clotfelter Blaker: Mark loved sports cars, the Beach Boys, photography, Jan and Dean, the Ventures, sherry, playing chess, and flying. Mark was our only brother, and we hope you see that he is not just a name on The Wall. He was a son, a brother, a friend, a cousin, a nephew, an uncle, a brother-in-law, and a fine pilot.

Delbert Totty, B Co., 1st Bn., 26 Inf., KIA 3/31/67

My dad arrived in Vietnam on August 8, 1966. His base camp was at Phouc Vinh in the III Corps, the Iron Triangle. My dad heard of my baby brother Robert's birth via the Red Cross. The young men in my dad's platoon threw a party for him while they were in the boonies. Eleven short days later, my dad was dead.

Bruno Hochmuth, 3rd MAF, KIA 11/14/67
A memorial from a fortunate son:  My father, Gunnery Sergeant David Sharpe, USMC (Ret.), was General Hochmuth's orderly during his tour in Vietnam. I was just eight years old, and I remember having the opportunity to go with my mother and three sisters to see my father off for that tour. I still have the picture of a cold, overcast day. I don't recall the base that he flew from, but there is a picture of my sisters, sullen, and one of father's buddies, who was also shipping out.

On that day, I was optimistic that my father would return. He did. An eye infection and subsequent hospitalization kept my father from traveling with the general on the fateful day that Gen. Hochmuth was killed in a helicopter crash.

This is a reminder of those who didn't come home, and of how life spares other families the greatest hardship of war. To view these memorials or to create one for a friend, visit The Virtual Wall at
www.VirtualWall.org/glimpses

   

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