The VVA Veteran® Online

November/December 2013

Autumn Remembrance: The Vietnam Women’s Memorial Twentieth Anniversary


photo: Patsy LynchOver Veterans Day weekend, I attended several events that commemorated the twentieth anniversary of the dedication on the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. One of these was a candlelight vigil that reflected on the meaning of this memorial and remembered those women who had departed from our ranks.

The night sky crept in from the east. A push from the wind brought dropping temperatures as leaves swirled all around us. A deeply respectful and solemn atmosphere enveloped the crowd of more than a hundred men and women who encircled the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. We moved close to each other, and a hush settled over us. Although many of us had found women we knew in country, we were all friends that night. We held hands and embraced as the names were read—the names of the women veterans on The Wall, as well as the names of our sisters who have died since the war.

photo: Patsy LynchWe listened to the names of our friends spoken, intent on hearing every name. We waited...listening and waiting... recognizing names of those we knew in a faraway land and knowing that the names of forever friends would be spoken in sweet remembrance. Their names brought memories of music, of laughter, of tears, of fear, of shared care packages, of loneliness, of letters from home, of heartache, of frustration, of anger, of screams...of war. But we always had each other to fight the struggles and to try to make sense of all of it. These women were our home away from home and the source of our strength, both then and now.

I will never forget that evening, one I shared in the piercing cold while feeling the warmth of friends who also knew these old and powerful emotions.

The former chair of VVA’s Women Veterans Committee, Marsha Four is the National Vice President of Vietnam Veterans of America. She can be reached at

photo: Patsy Lynch

Chapter 32 Honors the Forgotten.Parade Rest
Chapter 32 Honors the Forgotten.
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Asheville, North Carolina, Chapter 124
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