During my trip to the US, I stayed with family in New Jersey. As I’ve visited New York City with my wife countless times, we decided to visit DC via the Amtrak train.
I was last in DC when I was in the sixth grade. As an adult, I “get” the historical significance and the city’s ties to conflicts such as the War of 1812, Civil War, and events like the MLK “I Have a Dream” speech much more than when I was younger. One thing that stuck with me during my first visit, though, is the solemn significance of two sites: the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. While we can argue all day and night about politics (and Americans often do just that), it’s important to reflect on the sacrifices made by others.
As a measure of personal interest, I googled some names on the wall shown in the photo above. The first name I searched belongs to Sgt. Melvin R. Wink, shown at the bottom right. I was saddened to learn his story through various resources including the Virtual Vietnam Veterans Wall of Faces, a wonderful resource that personifies the wall. In addition, more information about Sgt. Wink is found through the website of his unit, A Troop 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment of the 25th US Army Infantry Division. More photos and resources can be found at TogetherWeServed.com.
What struck me about Sgt. Wink’s story is the backstory to this hero. He was a young 22-year old, had a wife in Pennsylvania, and was nearly complete with his tour of duty during a reconnaissance mission into Cambodia. There, his unit was ambushed and he was killed.
I’m really grateful for projects like the Wall of Faces. With 58,195 names, it’s important to put this into context.
More photos of both the wall, Arlington National Cemetery, the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and the famous Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are below.