The Gross National Debt

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Traveling Wall

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The Traveling Wall, a 3/5ths scale model of the Vietnam Wall in Washington DC is coming to my community Sept. 4-7. As part of this appearance, the crew in the office has produced the official program (a magazine) for this event.

It is the biggest magazine we have ever produced. It is FTP'ing to the printer as this is written. 40 pages, 6,000 copies.

To say this magazine was hard to produce is both a vast overstatement and an understatement.

It's hyperbole because it's a magazine. We produce them regularly. It's no more trouble than putting out a newspaper every week.

It's a serious shortcoming because this one hurt me. Everything about it did. From the front cover to the back cover, pain everywhere.

The two extremes didn't stop there. As this is an official program, I shared galleys with people who are heading up The Wall's visit. SOP for such a magazine.

When I watched veterans look over the pages and some of them cried - yeah, that hurt.

What hurt me the most and what I am most pleased with are the two infographics. It took a half day to produce the two pages. Normally I can do that in an hour. I had to regularly stop and compose myself as the pages came together. Still hurts thinking about it.

•••

For myself, I barely remember Vietnam. My memories of it are very sketchy and are confined to the last few years of that war. I remember one summer in the middle of watermelon season riding to town  for lunch with Billy Joe and Howard and they discussed the atrocities being committed in the war. True or not, I found the stories fascinating.

But.

The names on that wall. Those who did come home shattered and crippled in body, mind and spirit.

I can't know their pain, but I feel it nonetheless.

When The Wall comes, I'll be there. I'm supposed to be a minister counselor for those who visit the wall and need someone to talk to. I don't know if I'll be able to to hold up.

I'm gonna be there.

I will support the men and women who served there. I just hope none of them wind up having to support me.

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