Friday, April 28, 2023 – The Wall That Heals
The Traveling Vietnam Wall is in town this weekend. I have lost count of the number of times I have seen the Wall in Washington D. C. and the Traveling Wall. I notice it is now referred to as The Wall that Heals, as it should be.
There are over 58,000 names of men and women who were killed in action or are still missing in action.
Every time I have an opportunity to visit either the actual wall or the replica, I search for John R. “Butch” Baldridge, Jr. His name is located on Panel 16 Line 97. In front of his name is a cross. This signifies his remains are still missing. Some day perhaps it will change to a diamond that notes the remains have been found. In 1970, I wore a POW/MIA bracelet with Captain John R. Baldrige’s name on it. I have a photograph of the panel from the DC Memorial with Captain Baldridge’s name on a wall in my house. See the POW-MIA Dog Tags?
It is very emotional to see a name on the wall that you recognize – even if you have never met the individual. You see yourself reflected in the black granite. And you wonder – Would I have gone to this unwanted war? What if I knew and loved the individual whose name is engraved in granite?
Today I was part of what the Wall Volunteer called “A Wall Miracle.” It is when two people show up at the same panel, at the same time, looking for the same name. Now I have a rubbing with Butch’s name – John R. Baldridge, Jr. was Texas Aggie.
I asked the man doing the rubbing who he was and why he was looking a Butch’s name and he only said he was doing it for some friends.
There are still over 1500 Vietnam soldiers still missing. Ten of those, including Butch, are Texas Aggies. I hope someday, not only Butch’s, but all of the missing will be found.