Wall honors fallen heroes

Vietnam vet won't allow a new generation of fallen soldiers to be forgotten

November 13, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS |
  • Tim Wright gives a salute to veterans before his speech at a memorial service in Clear Spring Sunday night. Wright, a Vietnam veteran from Shippensburg, Pa., brought his "Wall of Fallen Heroes" to the service.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Tim Wright paused to let the number resonate in the cool night air: 6,287.

"That's how many soldiers we have lost since October '01," Wright told a group gathered at the Clear Spring Veterans Memorial at Clear Spring Park Sunday evening. "That was as of 6:50 this morning."

Wright, a Vietnam veteran from Shippensburg, Pa., has made it a personal mission to ensure this new generation of fallen soldiers is honored and remembered.

On Sunday evening, he brought his "Wall of Fallen Heroes," a mobile monument, to Clear Spring for a memorial service sponsored by several Clear Spring churches to honor soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On the wall, Art Signs of Chambersburg, Pa., has applied, in gold leaf, the names of each soldier from the mid-Atlantic states who has died in Iraq or Afghanistan. On Sunday, there were 742 names on the wall.

"I feel bad because I can't carry every soldier on that wall," Wright told the crowd. "But I still honor every one."

In addition to the wall, Wright displays notebooks with photos and biographical information about the fallen soldiers. When he meets family members of those soldiers, he invites them to write in the book, he said.

"They gave their all for our tomorrow, so we could be here today," he said.

Wright said he maintains the project with help from his daughter and takes it anywhere it is requested, free of charge, relying only on donations.

"The reason I started it is because I remember how people treated us when we came back from Vietnam, and how long it took people to remember," the 33-year Army veteran said. "By building this memorial, I'm not going to allow them to take that long to remember" those who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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