MINT HILL – The Moving Wall recently stopped in Mint Hill, giving residents an opportunity to pay their respects to the estimated 58,276 Americans who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.
The Moving Wall is a mobile half-size replica of the Washington, D.C., memorial to the 2.7 million men and women who served in Vietnam, etched with the names of each service member who made the ultimate sacrifice. It has been touring the country for more than 30 years.
The Town of Mint Hill hosted The Moving Wall from Oct. 10 to 14 at Veterans Memorial Park on Fairview Road.
Tabu Terrell drove from Tega Cay, S.C., to see the wall on Oct. 11. After scanning the many panels for a few minutes, he took out a pencil and etched the name “Larry Batts” off the wall and onto a piece of paper.
He said Batts was a good friend of his father and had always wanted to be a paratrooper. He ended up dying on his first jump in the Vietnam War.
“I wanted to come and pay my respects to him and everybody else,” Terrell said. “There were so many and they were so young. They weren’t celebrated when they came back and are still disparaged today, which I think is a shame.”
Terrell said he was impacted by the sheer number of names on the wall.
“It’s very moving because of how many there are,” he said. “You can say over 58,000, but to see them all written out and to know they represent friends and family they left behind … you could probably say one million people if you put together everyone their deaths affected.”
Greg and Kay Loveland, of Mint Hill, also thought about the ripple effect when they read the names on The Moving Wall.
“It’s very sobering to see this many people and the families who lost children, siblings and fathers,” Greg Loveland said.
Greg had three brothers who served during the Vietnam War era and grew up in a time when “Vietnam was a bad word.” Greg said he always felt the soldiers were treated unfairly when they returned home. They deserved to be honored and remembered, which is why he came to see The Moving Wall.
“Not ever being in D.C., it’s a very nice memorial,” he said.