Blossburg Debuts Replica Vietnam Memorial Wall

06.02.17 | Bob Price

A replica of the Vietnam Memorial debuted at the Blossburg State Coal Festival.

     An opening ceremony was held to honor all the living and deceased Vietnam veterans from Tioga County.

     While the wall may be a replica, it still resonates deeply in the hearts of visitors.

     "Some people would say it's just a granite wall," said ceremonial keynote speaker and Vietnam veteran, Thomas Hanzes. "But I never looked at what the wall was made of. I look at what the wall represents. Look at the names on the wall. It's almost incomprehensible to say fifty-eight-thousand, so many are on that wall."

     The wall is one of two half-scale replicas of the national memorial in Washington, D.C.

     It tours the country giving a history lesson to people of all ages.

     With the war being one of our country's deadliest, some Vietnam veterans see the wall and ask why they were lucky enough to make it out alive.

     "I can't help but wonder, like I said, why am I standing here and not over there," said Hanzes. "Why are all these Vietnam veterans standing here and not over there? Their grace of God, their family and, probably, a little bit of luck that's involved. That's why we're standing here. I'm just honored to stand in front of that wall with my comrades."

     When the soldiers came home from Vietnam, they were welcomed by the open arms of their families, but ridiculed by the public's displeasure with the war.

     Now, they're finally getting the honor and respect they deserve.

     "All we ever wanted was the love back and we have that love back," said Hanzes. "They love us now and I'm honored to be a Vietnam Veteran."

     The wall is going to be here until Sunday and it's open twenty-four hours. It's also free to the public if you want to stop by and pay your respects to those who didn't make it home from Vietnam.