On Thursday at the Ray Miller Park, the city of Leavenworth put up an 80 percent replica of the Vietnam Memorial, bringing many memories to those that served.
"You know the wall has over 58,000 names on it, all those servicemen and women who died, killed in action and fought in Vietnam,” Col. Andrew Shoffner said.
Many names Vietnam veteran Retired Col. Lynn Rolf Jr. vividly remembers.
“I have friends on that wall,” he said. “I have classmates from West Point that were there. I have friends from my unit, we have young kids at the time from Leavenworth that are on the wall. So it's personal."
It’s something that brings out different emotions for Col. Rolf Jr.
“Those that come back, we wonder why we were spared. So there is a lot of survivor angst amongst those of us who did come back and wonder why we're not on the wall,” he said. “When you reach up on the wall and see your own reflection and copy their names and everything else, it becomes very personal too of remembering that they gave their ultimate sacrifice."
With the community coming together to honor the lives lost.
"The pain is real. I don't think it ever goes away and I think at best you just build a tolerance to it,” Col. Shoffner said. “But when you get the wall out here, you remember why you fought and you fought for your fellow man, you fight for your country and I think it's critical that we never forget the sacrifices that they made.”
A sacrifice that Col. Rolf Jr. will always remember.
“My heroes, my buddies, their names are there and it becomes very personal and you go back to the time and you say well, ‘we did our best and we sent our best,’” he said.
The traveling wall tribute is free and open to the public. It will be up until Sunday, October 30th at Ray Miller Park with other events as well.
Thursday at 6 p.m., there will be an opening ceremony for the Traveling Wall Tribute.
For a detailed schedule of events, click here.
Rae Daniel can be reached at Rae.Daniel@KSHB.com.