The Heal Of A Walk

Vietnam Veteran shares his reflections about visiting the Vietnam Wall Memorial, writing, and healing.

VetWallWe walked with a purpose, my friend and I beneath the clouded Washington sky.

The earth seemed to open as we approached from the east. We entered a world of tranquility, a world of peace.

At first it was hard to grasp the feeling. There was no indication of instant healing.The names were all there on the blackened surface. They were waiting for us to fulfill our purpose.

We made ourselves busy at tracing and such. A name to remember…. A soul to touch. Without knowing, as we made our way, our hearts were swelling with pride that day.

Tear did not fall as one might expect. It was a scene of resolve, love, and respect. The wall was black and all too complete. The wall was a reminder of what not to repeat.

Most names were unfamiliar, but not unknown. The seeds of war so long ago sown, has made us as one in another life. As one in good times and one in strife.

We moved on to the statue of three young men. They looked as we did, way back when. They were real in all ways but one….Frozen in time, a job well done.

The power of feeling is hard to express. Soldiers of combat, faces of distress. They looked to the wall in a peculiar way. Is it surprise or danger their eyes display?

I am a young man of 20 once again. If I touch them they will come alive, as if to say, “I also can survive”.

They move from the trees, and enter the clear. They move with caution, not hiding their fear. They have returned from a duty known only to them. They look to the wall, these three young men.

We return at night to share the peace. Our memories of this visit will never cease. The calm of the darkness brings a lump to the throat. Thoughts of another time are no longer remote.

There is a time we need to heal. There is a time we need to feel. Those names on The Wall and those three young men, Renewed my conviction to survive again.

Galen Gregerson (June 13, 1986)


“Reflections are important when one is trying to ascertain solutions to challenges. Where have I been and how did I get here? What do I need to make a decision? Who do I seek out for input? How many options do I have? Which options are most reasonable for me?What are my liabilities? What are my assets?

As a Nam Vet, do I revert to survival tactics for this challenge, this treating it like a mission? Or, do I incorporate feelings into my decision process? Perhaps I do need survival tactics initially, gaining strength through anger. However, that will not prevail over the long-haul. To remain “living life” rather than simply “surviving life” requires more thought, feeling, and determination.

Survival is automatic for the well-practiced Vietnam Veteran. Living life to its fullest with a sense for feelings is more difficult. The choice is mine, as is the reward. I choose to live my life. To survive life is too incomplete and too unforgiving”.

(excerpts) Galen Gregerson

October 25, 1994

*No blog is meant to substitute anyone seeking professional assistance or other support if needed. Each post are by individuals merely sharing their experiences, reflections, and hope.

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