KENT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – For the next 72 hours, day and night, the names of thousands of veterans of the Vietnam War are being read out loud.
The traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall will stand inside Putnam County Veteran’s Memorial Park until Sunday, reports CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge.
“Sad, very sad, 57,000 people,” said Korean War veteran Burt Houseworth. “I’ve been to the wall in Washington DC, and I cried there.”
Houseworth says the traveling Vietnam wall is a chance for those who may not get the opportunity to see the permanent version in DC, like he did up close.
Instead, it brings the monument to communities like Putnam County where 12 local residents made the ultimate sacrifice.
“Seeing something that you can actually touch feel and see is very profound,” said Ed Lachterman, Yorktown Councilman & Son Of The American Legion.
“It’s kind of almost overwhelming,” said Erin Yarochowicz, who lost family in the Vietnam War. “You can put it into perspective now when you look at the wall. I knew there was a lot of fatalities, but when you look at it like this and all the names it’s nice to come out and honor everybody who did so much for us.”
The wall arrived from West Virginia on Thursday and took dozens of volunteers to assemble.
“A guy from West Virginia decided to build a 50 percent model of the wall,” said Karl Rohde, director of the Putnam County Veterans Service Agency. “This is the fourth time it’s traveled here.”
Visitors can take a rubbing or a stencils of a loved one’s name so they can also have a piece of the wall.
The wall will remain dimly lit after sunset so people can visit all night through the morning.
“This is a good friend of mine, Michael P. Cusick, we were classmates at Holy Name School in Brooklyn,” said Patterson resident Jim McCarthy. “He died far too young.”
Over the next three days, the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council will host several ceremonies including honorary wreaths and the eternal flame.
They then pack up the monument before heading to the next hometown in need of healing.
The closing ceremony takes place Sunday afternoon.