by Rev. Robert H. Tucker
August 18, 1997
A Healing Scar
Waves of strong emotion washed over me before I even opened
the slim volume I had taken off my friends' bookshelf while visiting
them in a foreign capital several years ago. The same feelings
arose most recently as I took a new book off the bookshelf of
a local library. The first book was The Wall and the second was
Offerings at the Wall. So much emotion spanning so much space
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial has a strange power to call
forth such deep emotion from within me. On the two visits I have
made to the Wall itself, I traced with my finger the only name
that I know is there--Ed Koenig--a college friend and an attendant
at my wedding. Recalling the vitality of that one person, and
more, struck by the tens of thousands of others' names, I feel
Sloping from ground level to a central point ten feet below
the grassy surface, the black marble leaves a visual "scar'
on the soil. The scar of a deep wound, but a scar that has an
amazing ability to heal. Among the over 30,000 offerings left
at the Wall was an undelivered (and unopened)) package with the
San Francisco APO address crossed out, and printed on the brown
wrapping was "KIA 10-31-72." A ruled paper note taped
to the box read, "Charles Steward ... Mom & Dad want
you to have these cookies & Kool Aid. It's time they gave
these to you. They send all their love, Gary B. " That package,
unopened and sitting in the parent's home for so many years, was
finally delivered. I believe some healing took place in that family
with that offering at the Wall. Twice daily, volunteers collect
the offerings and take them to a place for safe keeping.
Dedicated on Veterans Day 1982, I wonder what the impact of
the Wall will be on those who will view it on Veterans Day 2082,
separated as they will be from the turbulent times and passionate
feelings of those days through which we lived. I hope that fingers
will still be tracing the names of those soldiers listed on the
wall, that someone then will trace the name of Ed Koenig and think
of what the world lost with his and others' deaths.
--Robert H. Tucker
18 August 1997
- © Robert H. Tucker, 1997.
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