The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Max Erikson
Reporter 

The Wall That Heals Receives an "overwhelming" Welcome to Goldendale

 

September 6, 2017

Gary Elkinton

WALL THAT HEALS DOES ITS JOB: the Wall at night.

The Wall that Heals concluded its visit to Goldendale on Sept. 3 in an emotional and heartfelt event that paid tribute to those soldiers who lost their lives in the Vietnam War and honored veterans who served and still carry that distinction today.

The residences of Goldendale welcomed the Wall as it arrived with a police and motorcycle escort. The enthusiasm from the City made an impact on Tim Tetz, director of outreach for the Wall That Heals.

"Goldendale is a special town, the way the city rallied around us," Tetz said. "This is a magical stop for us, and Goldendale epitomizes small town America."

Tetz says the moment they came through town-with all the support of the people-he knew that Goldendale was a special place.

Opening ceremonies were held on Aug. 31 with hundreds of people filling the grandstands at the fairgrounds, as Masonic Lodge members and guest speakers-retired military officers and Vietnam Veterans-addressed the crowd about the significance of the names on The Wall and a brief history of the war itself.

There was a 21-gun salute by the Goldendale American Legion, and "Taps" was performed by George Minor.

The names of six young men from Klickitat County who gave the ultimate sacrifice, are found on the Wall and speakers paid tribute to them and their memory:

• SP5 Lynn Anderson 1949-1969-Wishram

• SP4 Carl Belding Jr. 1948-1969-White Salmon

• Sgt. Terry Smith 1947-1968-Bingen

• PFC Lonnie Wedrick 1947-1968-White Salmon

• Lt. Randall Arney 1943-1968-Klickitat

• SP4 William Kenneth Austin 1950-1971-Trout Lake

Scott Robinson, Chairman of Masonic Lodge 31 and local organizer of the event, said he was overwhelmed by the large turnout of people and moved by the opening ceremonies and guest speakers.

"This exceeded my expectations and the speakers went above and beyond," Robinson said. "it is a very heartfelt and emotional experience."

Max Erikson

Dozens lined Broadway as the Wall pulled into Goldendale.

Robinson also said he was grateful for all the support he received by the city and community leaders.

Goldendale Mayor Mike Canon had the same sentiments as Robinson.

"This was real good for the people of Goldendale," Canon said. "everybody really stepped up and it is a heart thing, it gives a good feeling to do this."

As of Memorial Day 2015 there are 58,307 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall according to the U.S War Dog Association.

There were 2.7 million Americans who served in Vietnam, and 61 percent of those killed were 21 or younger. There are approximately 800,000 Vietnam veterans living today, representing one out of every 410 Americans.

 

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