Largest traveling replica of Vietnam Wall Memorial comes to Prov - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Largest traveling replica of Vietnam Wall Memorial comes to Providence

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By: Samantha Lavien
Slavien@abc6.com
Twitter: @samanthalavien

The largest traveling replica of the Vietnam Wall War Memorial is in Providence for a few days.

On Thursday the family of a Cranston native killed in the war laid a wreath during opening ceremonies to welcome the wall to Rhode Island.

"Just the fact that his name is up there with all his brothers and sisters and the whole country can see it, it is special,” said Sergeant First Class Lewis Walton Jr., whose father Sergeant First Class Lewis Walton was killed in the war.

Walton's remains were the last to be returned to Rhode Island back in 2004. His daughter says she was able to touch his name for the first time thanks to the replica.

"The wall in Washington is much higher and dad's name is so far up that none of us have been able to touch it ever," said Jacquelyn Walton.

The American Veterans Traveling tribute is about 80% of the size of the monument in DC. The replica includes the names of all the more than 58,000 men and women killed in the war.

"The saddest part about it is that most people look up there and they see names they don't recognize that those names mean families that didn't occur, children that nobody had," said Vietnam veteran Thomas Suprock.

The names of 209 Rhode Islands are among the thousands etched into the stone.

Suprock says seeing the names of friends on the wall brings up some very mixed emotions.

"Why was I chosen to survive and they chosen to die. It's difficult,” said Suprock.

The wall was brought to the Ocean State by Operation Stand Down Rhode Island.

It will remain at the India Point Park soccer field until Sunday.

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