CAMDEN, SC (WIS) - A traveling memorial for Vietnam veterans is in Camden for the weekend. It's the only stop in the state for The Wall that Heals exhibit.
The tour is part of our Year of the Veteran series. Volunteers began setting up the exhibit after arriving in Camden Wednesday morning. Veterans at the ceremony say being there with their fellow soldiers - those living and those listed on The Wall - is a great honor.
"It brings back quite a bit of [my] memories," Vietnam Veteran James Dorsey said.
Dorsey and his first cousin, Mack Woodward, both served in the Vietnam War.
"I found a couple names over there on the wall, but luckily I only found a few of them. You feel a little guilty coming back when they didn't come back," Dorsey said.
They say they didn't think twice about traveling to Revolutionary Park on Broad Street in Camden to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
"The names that I fought with, they're not here, but their name is here on that board and it makes me feel good," Woodward said.
Part of American Legion Riders, the more than 120 bikers and veterans, who escorted the Wall that Heals trailer.
"Just riding that bike and all the people along that route were waving and saluting, makes you feel so good," Woodward said. "That tells me that what we have done for this country is a good thing."
"I lost a classmate in the war and also a close family friend. So, this is personal for me," Camden Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford said. "I hope others come here and experience this, and also that some healing, some healing, come out of the wall being here."
The full exhibit is 375 feet in length and stands 7.5 feet tall, bearing the names of the 58,000 men and women who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. David Fuller is the commander of the American Legion Post 17.
"The state has over 900 names that we lost – veterans – their names are on that wall," Fuller said. "Here, just in Kershaw County, we have 13 names that are on that wall of soldiers who got killed in Vietnam. So, it just has a special meaning to veterans here."
The display will be available around-the-clock, starting Thursday morning through Sunday.
"We're proud of those people that died," Dorsey said.
"Most of the guys here, right now, today, will never forget coming here and being saluted," Woodward said.
Wednesday's events include a Wreath Laying Ceremony at 7:00 PM, followed by a Taps performance at 8 p.m. The full exhibit will be on display beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday for 24-hours-a-day, through Sunday at Revolutionary Park on Broad Street in Camden.