Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bob the Builder Award: Jerry Barham and The Wall That Heals

They call it "The Wall That Heals."

Walls, as I think about it, aren't always considered very "healing."
There is the Berlin Wall.

Which is now in pieces around the world.  Some of which are in Fulton, Missouri. I touched it last summer. 

Designed to keep people in.

There is the Great Wall of China. 

Which is falling apart into pieces.  Some of those pieces happen to be in a film canister on my dresser in my bedroom.  I touched that in May of 2001.

Designed to keep people out.

Then there is the Vietnam Wall.

I have touched it as well.  Once in 1995 and once in 2004.  The one in Washington DC that is.

But in case you didn't know, there is another one.  A miniature one called "The Traveling Wall."

It is an exact scale replica of the one in Washington, but is carefully brought to the people around the United States.

Carefully carried to the regular folks who don't have the money or frequent flier miles to visit the big one.

I have seen it twice as well.
If you want to feel humbled and a spirit of reverence, visit The Wall That Heals with a former Vietnam vet.

Like my dad, for example.

My dad is a simple fella, manly and sort of tucked inside when it comes to emotion.  He isn't one who has talked much about his service, even though he comes from generations of soldiers.  It was only a few years ago that he had healed enough that he bought himself a Vietnam Vet hat.  I was there that day and it was almost like it opened up that part of his heart that had been closed for 35 years.

The Boy and The Girl came along to North Kansas City to see the Wall this go around.

We got to see some maps relative to where he served.

We got to see his half-brother, Kenny, who was killed in 1969 as a 19 year old marine.

I was surprised when he picked out another name....

Glenn P.  McADoo

I had known as a kid that my dad served with a man who was killed....a buddy from his troop.  I never knew his name until this day.  Glenn.  He told us that Glenn had taken his RR to Australia and while he was there, he had fallen in love.  He had plans to return to marry the girl.  

And then he was killed.

No one in his group knew her name or how to contact her.  And that was the end of Glenn's love story.  :(

My dad served in the Army.

There was a poster for vets to sign for classroom sharing work.

All sorts of people turned out to visit the wall.  Including heros.

My dad was in the Electric Strawberry Unit. 

I love my dad.  He is a true hero to me.

There is someone else who has acted heroically recently who didn't die in Vietnam.  It is a guy you probably haven't heard of named Jerry Barham.

Jerry is a fellow Rotarian friend of mine who financially sponsored The Traveling Wall to come to KC.  He is such a nice man, it is easy to be impressed with him.  And it is not surprising that he went the distance to bring The Wall here.

When his brother left for Vietnam in the late 1960's, he left Jerry his car to take care while he was gone.

Jerry's brother never returned.  But Jerry had kept his word.  He is still taking care of brother' car.

Jerry is often found donating to the community and the greater good.  As heros are known to do, I suppose.

Thank you, Jerry, on behalf of me and my family.
As The Girl and I work to finish our membership application to the Daughters of the American Revolution,  you could see our ancestrial "fight against oppression" genes coming out that day in the t-shirts we chose to wear...

The Girl's

And this is the one I picked out from the exhibit....


I know, this day on a hot astroturf high school football field, there was no doubt there was some healing that was felt. 

God bless the USA.  :)