Mind Matters

by Rev. Robert H. Tucker

Number 257
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 and time.

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 incredibly sad.

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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