Lesson etched in stone

If you're a member of my generation, you remember the Vietnam War. Maybe some people understand what happened -- or pretend t
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

If you're a member of my generation, you remember the Vietnam War.

Maybe some people understand what happened -- or pretend to understand -- but I never will, and today I am equally, or even more perplexed, trying to make sense out of the current American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I think there was a time when many thought we had learned a lesson from Vietnam. Perhaps that was in early 1991, during the first Gulf War.

Get in. Get out.

Maybe that was the lesson that did not get lost on President George Herbert Walker Bush. Maybe that's what we knew then as a nation.

But whatever we might have learned from Vietnam has been blown away and forgotten in the current conflicts.

Forgotten, but nevertheless, etched in stone.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington starkly and profoundly teaches that lesson, even if it's a lesson unheeded at the dawn of the 21st century.

The Wall's simple design features the names of 58,256 U.S. service men and women who lost their lives in Vietnam, or died from injuries sustained in the conflict. It is not a monument to war, but rather a monument to sacrifice.

On Thursday, the American Veterans Traveling Tribute & The Traveling Wall Foundation brought the largest replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to Sandusky. It will be open at no cost to visitors 24 hours a day until noon June 10.

If you're a parent, bring your children to the display; if you're a grandparent bring your children and their children; if you're a teacher bring your class; if you're a principal bring your school; and if you're a school district superintendent bring every student.

A Wall listing just the names of Vietnam Service members from the Register readership area would fill an entire panel.

Five more names could be added if it were to include service members from our area who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Iraq War and the conflict in Afghanistan.

From Sandusky: Alan Albert Stein, Dennis Michael Ramon, James William Blake, Arthur Charles Buck, Terry Lee Denney, Andres Avalos Gonzalez, Charles William Greene, William Robert Hainley, David Robert Houser, Ronald Charles Kearsley, John Edward Kochensparger, David James Levier, Charles Thomas Meadows, Robert Clarence Reynolds, Nelson Lee Smith, Dale Daniel Thomas, Thomas Green

From Bellevue: Roy Claude Beasley, William Richard Dumas, Charles Emmett Frederick, Jessie Jerome Garrard, Thomas George Idle, Terrence Joseph Kudro, Ronald Lee Shaver William Joseph Weidinger

From Huron: James Charles Baumer, James Charles Fekete, Gregg William Heidrich, Terrance R. Mesenburg, David Mason Sexton, Theodore Davison Ward

From Castalia: Herman Eugene Gant

From Fostoria: David Eugene Devine, Roger Kenneth Drake, Norman Joseph Erbland, Gerald Lynn Gassman, Robert Cloyce Hampshire, Raymond Neal McIntyre, Alan Reed Rader, Richard Hugh Savieo, Larry Warren Stull

From Port Clinton: Thomas Henry Carstens, James Michael Davenport, Clyde Wilson Enderle, David Michael Kesterson, William Matthews Jr.

From Clyde: Gary Leonard Dauch, Harold Eugene Stiger, George Gerald Stoll

From Norwalk: Ronald Ray Coe, Jack Allen Hawley, Lauren Joseph Heydinger, Larry Lee Libbee, Jackie Linn Lundell, Krag Barry Roydes, James Edward Sprowl, Timothy Joseph Thompson

From Fremont: Jeffrey Lee Beard, James Robert Burke, John William Conrad, Robert Otto Eder, Darreld Edward Fisher, Robert Flores Jr., Gary Lee Gabel, Harry Lynne Hummel, Chester Anthony Luc, Duane Harold Snyder, Kennard Errol Svanoe, Ronald Eugene Young

From New London: Thomas Alan Gopp, Claude Howard, Lawrence Richard Walton

From Oak Harbor: Glenn Allan Millinger

From Monroeville: Ronald Lee Parsley

From Tiffin: Robert Eugene Askam, Lawrence Gilbert Bargaheiser, Willis Eugene Kerlin Jr., Robert Lee Luster, Roy Dewitt Prater, Richard Paul Ritzler, Robert Charle Siebenaller, Howard Albert Strausbaugh, Donald Charles Tallman, Grant Carl Taylor

From Vermilion: John Lewis Kotora, Hubert Jackson Payne

From Wakeman: Dale Andre Gronsky

From Willard: Melvin Edward Bevier, Emmons Edward Funk Jr., Daniel Clyde Lykins

From Plymouth: Forrest Adrian McKinney

From Green Springs: Larry Gene Drown, Gene Francis Lee

From Lindsey: John Charles Agee, Jeffrey Lee Geldin

Deaths associated with Operation Enduring Freedom: Jason Sparks, Monroeville; Michael W. Finke Jr., Huron, Charles E. Odums II, Sandusky, Jeremy S. Shock, Green Springs, Benjamin W. Biskie, Vermilion