Vietnam traveling memorial makes stop in Ludington
A replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. is on display right now in northern Michigan.
The Vietnam traveling wall is a 4/5 sized replica of the memorial in Washington D.C.
For many veterans, this replica is the closest they'll get to the actual Vietnam memorial.
A few veterans at Thursdayâ??s ceremony said they had gone to Washington, gone to the memorial, but simply couldn't get out of their car to see the memorial up close. It was just too difficult.
For Pete Probst, his first visit to the memorial in Washington was on a dark, rainy night not long after it opened in 1982. It was a visit that he remembers well.
"It was really difficult that time," said Probst. "The next few times I went, it was in daylight, but that one was the hardest one. It was eerie, and it was drizzly; just very uncomfortable to go there at that point."
For others, having the traveling wall close to home is simply another opportunity to remember friends and family who served and who died.
It was an opportunity for younger generations to learn about the war.
"The interest in it really surprised me," said Claire Baird. "I heard them asking questions to their grandpa I think it was. He had to describe what it was all about. I thought that was pretty cool."
That interest, any interest, really - is in stark contrast to what many of these veterans experienced when they returned home from serving in Vietnam.
"Back then it seemed as though when you came back, I was gone for over three years," said Gary Baird. "When I came back it was like I was back and my family and friends were there, but it seemed like it was totally different surroundings from when I left. You felt out of place because everybody treated you differently. Even high school classmates didn't even want to talk to me about where I had been and what I had done."