Priceless Cargo - McClymonds Supply and Transit Hauled “The Wall That Heals” During Its 2022 Tour
It was 8:30 am this past Memorial Day and it was already hot and humid – I was walking on the lawn of the Zem Zem Shrine Club in Erie, Pennsylvania. I will admit it, part of me was grousing inwardly on the hour trip up on I-79. It was a holiday, I had plans to go to the hometown Memorial Day Parade that afternoon. I wanted to spend some time with the grandkids. But the internal grumbling stopped within two minutes of walking up to the traveling “The Wall That Heals” display. My soul was stirred, and my emotions were over-flowing, and I found myself fighting back tears as I traversed down the three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that is in Washington, DC.
I stood alongside Vietnam Veterans in frayed baseball caps, some wearing biker vests. Some of the Veterans searched the Wall for specific names. The National Anthem began to play on a loudspeaker and the Vets immediately turned to face the American Flag, removed their hats and held their hands over their hearts.
Memorials lined the wall, many in tribute and honor to the sixty-one Erie County Servicemen who were killed during the Vietnam War. Men and women made etchings or rubbings of names inscribed on the Wall.
I found myself standing beside Retired SFC Leroy Goodwine, who was searching for Oren Smith’s name. One of the volunteers directed him to the panel where Smith’s name was inscribed. Goodwin explained to me that Oren Smith was a couple of grades ahead of him in high school. Smith was killed in action in May of 1969. He was only 19 years old.
The traveling memorial is made of powder coated aluminum panels supported by aluminum frames. It is 375 feet long, and 7.5 feet high at its apex. The memorial is an exhibit that honors the more than three million Americans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces in the Vietnam War and bears the names of the 58,281 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam. Also featured at the tour is a Mobile Education Center. The 2022 tour will visit 29 communities this year.
Barber Trucking Professional Truck Driver Justin Jackson hauled The Wall That Heals from Winchester, Indiana to Erie, Pennsylvania. Barber Trucking is located in Brookville, Pennsylvania.
Shawn Hamrick, a Professional Truck Driver for McClymonds Supply and Transit, along with McClymonds employee Hank Tindall, who kept the McClymonds Transit’s 2019 Peterbilt 389 “RED” (Remember Everyone Deployed) shined to perfection, transported The Wall on the next leg of the journey from Erie, Pennsylvania to the Veterans Memorial Park in Norwalk, Connecticut. Hamrick and Tindall both stated that it was “an honor and privilege to transport the Wall.”
The final destination of the tour will be in Cabot, Arkansas on November 10-13.
And yes, I made it back in time to attend that Memorial Day Parade with my grandkids and tears once again were in my eyes as I watched the Veterans march down the street. “All Gave Some, Some Gave All” was very much on my mind.