Letter to the editor: A disappointing experience at the Vietnam Moving Wall

To the editor:

I have been compelled to express my experience to the public and my fellow veterans of the horrible experience I had at the Vietnam Moving Wall at Twin Arrows.

This article may offend and have a negative response from the public about my observations. I am probably the only one who is going to express my personal opinion.

On Aug. 14, 2017, I went to Twin Arrows to pay my respects at the wall, also to join in on a Code Talkers recognition day. I am a U.S. Marine veteran and I felt I had to offer my prayers and blessing to the Vietnam Wall.

Upon my arrival, I observed there was not very many people around the hotel lobby. I observed arrows directing me toward the wall and I was happy I had a cane with me to assist my walk. I am an 81-year-old veteran. I had walked the length of the conference room, which was very long. I finally reached two glass doors and the arrows were still pointing toward outside. I went through the doors and outside I met two Vietnam veterans sitting outside where there were tables and chairs. I asked them where the wall was and they pointed west and stated ‘you still have 400 more yards to go. I finally got off the sidewalk and I immediately got on gravel, sand and dirt going toward the wall.

I immediately felt very disgusted, angry and in disbelief. I saw the wall a long distance away. As I walked along, the path was filled with gravel and dust. At the wall, there was a breeze and as I got closer to the wall, I could see the dirt and dust covering the memorial.

I felt very sad, disgusted and angry at the location of the wall. It was a shame and uncalled for to place the wall out in the desert. I offered my prayers and offered my corn meal and I started to walk back toward the conference hall in the dirt and gravel.

I felt tears from my eyes. I felt this was a disgrace to the warriors who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the people. To me, this display is not just names. These veterans are spiritual warriors and they should have the highest respect placed on them.

The location, to me, is too far away and located in a horrible place. The display should have been displayed in the parking lot and near a public place where it would have been more visible for people to see it and pay their respects.

I would like to mention here that the sponsors and the Twin Arrows administration should be very ashamed of the location of the display and it is very disrespectful of the Vietnam veterans.

There was also no recognition, or honoring of Code Talkers that day. This would have been a proper time to present taps, perform a gun salute and have the respect to sing a Native memorial song, Flag song and sign veteran honoring songs. Present, maybe, even a short gourd dance. There was nothing!

There was a free meal and that was it. The meal was very unpleasant. By the time I sat down to eat, my food was very, very cold. The air conditioning was on full blast. It was very cold in the building.

It is my opinion that there should be no more veteran’s activities at Twin Arrows any more. They have no respect for veterans.

Ernest Nahnacassia, Hotevilla, Arizona

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