Brewster Blazers Unveil Vietnam Wall

The Vietnam Wall has a special connection for five members of the Brewster (Wash.) Blazer Pathfinders with reminders of courage, dedication and service, according to Merlin Ekvall, their director. When the traveling replica of the Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. came to nearby Bridgeport, Wash., last fall for a six-day display, the Pathfinder Club was invited to send representatives who, along with three Boy Scouts, unveiled the two long walls at the opening ceremony.

Gordon Smith, Brewster pastor, was one of four speakers for the interdenominational service. "Healing from great loss," he shared, "can come only as one leaves the difficult 'why?' questions to be answered some day by God." Several other members of the local congregation were among volunteers reading aloud the wall's more than 55,000 names of service people, most of them young, who never came home from the Vietnam War.

Special events during the showing included a ceremony honoring area residents currently or recently serving their country in the military and dinners honoring all area veterans. Three men active in the local Adventist church are among those who served in Vietnam.

Students of Brewster Adventist School touched history as they, too, visited the wall before closing ceremonies. Among the dignitaries at the welcoming ceremony was Washington state senator Linda Evans Parlette who noted the exhibit is a way of giving thanks to the Vietnam veterans—a reminder, too, that the cost of freedom and peace can be high.

John Devitt, himself a Vietnam veteran, originated the idea of the traveling exhibit and was in Bridgeport for the showing at the invitation of three area American Legion Posts. His organization has two replicas that are exhibited in about 24 different locations in a year.

March 01, 2004 / Upper Columbia Conference