Michigan men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the Vietnam War are being honored with a memorial now on display in Livingston County.

The Michigan Vietnam Memorial Wall, presented by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 73 out of Holland, is among the war memorials being shown at the Spencer J. Hardy Airport through Sunday. The memorial is dedicated to the memory of the 2,661 men and women of the State of Michigan who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. Their names are etched into the wall; a reminder that they will never be forgotten. The memorial is accompanied by a book that contains a biography of where each individual came from and when they lost their life.

The display can be difficult for some to view and process. One of the veterans from Chapter 73 shares with WHMI an experience in which another veteran walked past the display six times before finally agreeing to come inside the tent. He says, “We both we’re just standing there crying like babies but it did the guy so much good to finally get that demon off his back and those were his words to me. He said, ‘I needed to do this for years. It’s literally been tearing me apart. Night after night I couldn’t sleep. My friends are on that wall and I couldn’t face up to their names’. He told me it was really a blessing to him and that really made me feel good.”

The memorial is a reminder that Americans will “never forget” those who didn’t come home and a place of healing for those that returned with more baggage then they left with. Also on display at the airport through the weekend is a replica of the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C., the Korean War Memorial with 23 full-size statues, and the Eyes of Freedom Traveling Memorial from the Iraq War. The display is open 24 hours a day and free to the public. (DK)