Veterans remember Vietnam

A half-scale replica of The Wall That Heals was brought to the Golden Gate National Cemetery on April 16, where a crowd gathered to pay their respects and show their appreciation to those who served in Vietnam, as we near the 50th anniversary of the war in Vietnam.

The event was co-sponsored by many associations, some of which come straight from Skyline College, such as the Associated Students of Skyline College and the Skyline College Veterans Clubs.

“The month of May, 1968 was the deadliest month in Vietnam history,” Steve Patterson said. “2,415 men and women died in Vietnam that month”.

Patterson, a former platoon leader in the 101st Airborne division, spoke to the crowd briefly about his time in Vietnam and how he met his wife, Linda Patterson.

Linda Patterson’s brother was in Steve’s platoon. Her brother Joe was killed in action in Vietnam.

Steve met Linda when he came back from Vietnam and they have been together ever since.

Linda spoke about the love and admiration she had, not just for her brother, but for all the troops over there fighting.

She got her local community to sponsor troops and sent them countless numbers of care packages.

A crowd of roughly one hundred people showed up that sunny Thursday morning. The crowd was made up primarily of veterans, and friends and family of veterans of the Vietnam War.

The crowd was in good spirits, many veterans smiling and greeting others, and were happy to be honoring each other as well as those lost during the war.

“I lost my dad in Vietnam,” attendee Shiree Hanley said, “so I felt it was important for me to come.”

Aside from the replica of the original Wall That Heals, there was a trailer which had a brief summary of the history of the war in Vietnam, as well as quotes, artifacts, and anecdotes.

One quote in the trailer that stood out was from one of the men whose idea it was to create the memorial in the first place, Jan Scruggs.

“To remind an ungrateful nation what it has done to its sons,” the quote reads.

Scruggs was an infantryman who was wounded in Vietnam and did not feel he had the support of the American people. He made it his mission to create a memorial; he did so successfully, raising $8.4 million along with others to create The Wall That Heals.

There was an invocation from Chaplain Fred Tittle, who spoke briefly about religion and the war.

The California National guard provided a firing detail, shooting a few rounds into the air, before CDR. Richard Erhardt, USNR (ret.) played taps, and the ceremony concluded.