Traveling Vietnam veterans memorial stops in RI
A moving tribute to Vietnam veterans made a temporary stop Thursday in Glocester.
The Rhode Island State Police escorted The Moving Wall to Ponaganset High School, where it was in the process of being set up.
“A lot of us were called baby killers and we were spit at and now to see something like this and the kids to accept us, it means a lot,” Alan Conca, a Vietnam War veteran, said.
Chris Stanley, a teacher at Ponaganset, has been working on bringing the Moving Wall to Glocester. He said his students were inspired by a lesson and initially asked if they could travel to the memorial in D.C.
"It started off as a little classroom project last year,” Stanley said. “At the end of that, one of my students asked, ‘Hey, can we go to the Vietnam Wall?’ And I said, ‘That's a little complicated,” but I said, ‘I think I can do something better. I'll bring the wall to you.’”
The names of 207 Rhode Islanders are on the wall, including a man named Ernest Perry Jr. Thursday's ceremony meant a lot to the wife he left behind.
"It's a tribute to him. He gave his life for this country and it was many years ago, but he's still remembered every day," said Perry's widow, Linda Rodolewicz.
What some will never forget, others admit they didn't know a whole lot about it.
"I think it was kind of lost on a lot of the generation, but with events like this it's a really good chance to bring it back and it's something kids really respond to,” Emily Williams, a senior at Ponaganset, said.
The wall is made up of 74 panels and about 254 feet long, NBC 10 was told.
Vietnam-era veterans hope people from younger generations take the opportunity to learn what they can while The Moving Wall is in Glocester through Monday.
Stanley shared similar sentiments.
"For me, it's not whether they get an A, B, C, or D in class,” he said. “It's what they have written on their heart and this is going to move them."