The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 11, 2012

58,000 names "heartbreaking"

35 from Valley forever etched into Vietnam Veterans Memorial

By Jennifer Peltz and Rachel Cohen
The Associated Press

By Evamarie Socha

The Daily Item

Tuesday marks the 30th anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C, a 493½-foot wall that honors more than 58,000 service members who died in the nearly nine-year war, America’s longest other than Afghanistan.

“The names would become the memorial,” designer Maya Ying Li said at the time, choosing a polished black granite to reflect the memorial’s visitors.

People see themselves in the names and, in a sense, become a living tribute to the fallen.

“It’s awesome,” said Charles Greiner of Milton, a Vietnam veteran who has visited the memorial. “It’s heartbreaking ... to see that many names and their loss.”

The names of 35 Valley servicemen are on present on the wall.

In some way, Vietnam is present now in the problems of service members returning from the Middle East. Post traumatic stress disorder — “There was no name for it back then,” said Dick DeVett of Millmont, a former Marine who has suffered from it — is prevalent among the newest veterans.

“A great majority of (today’s service members) are handling it well,” said Thomas Reimensnyder, of Mifflinburg, a World War II veteran who is active in veterans issues. “But what I want the younger generation to be aware of when these vets are gone, remember them for what they did.

“That was a war that wasn’t popular at all,” Reimensnyder said of Vietnam.

Veterans of that war, such as Greiner and DeVett, talk to others about their experiences, and “They’re doing a good job to instill into people that it was a very important war,” Reimensnyder said.

With that, and in honor of this Veterans Day, read Greiner’s and DeVett’s stories about their service, their lives since and what the monument means to them in today’s edition of The Daily Item.