Traveling War Memorial Stops in Luzerne County, Brings Woman to Tears

SWOYERSVILLE -- With motorcycle engines roaring, more than 500 veterans led the way for the Wall That Heals to make its stop in Luzerne County.

The Wall That Heals is a traveling replica of the Vietnam War Memorial that stands in Washington D.C. It visits 41 cities throughout the nation during the year.

The memorial stopped at the Swoyersville American Legion on Shoemaker Street Wednesday morning.

One woman from Luzerne was moved to tears by the sight of it.

"(My father) didn't die in Vietnam but he died because of Vietnam. His birthday would be this Sunday. I guess it just overtook me," Judy Wing said.

Wing's father, Richard Wing was an Air Force veteran who died of complications from Agent Orange exposure during his tour in Vietnam.

"Oh, my goodness, he was larger than life. He was funny. He was so smart. Oh, my gosh, was he smart," Wing said.

The memorial features the names of 58,000 veterans who gave their lives in Vietnam. It also has the names of those who served and were killed in action from Luzerne County.

Others watched as the wall came in and thought of veterans who are still fighting the effects of the Vietnam War.

"They need more help. They need our respect and we have to do whatever we can for them because they were the ones that fought for us to be here today," Ed Mizenko of Forty Fort said.

Veterans bonded over the good times they had with friends as they remembered those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

"If you see our colors, we're the combat vets motorcycle association, so most of us have lost friends," Air Force Veteran Richard Silva said.

Veterans said this is the perfect way for anyone who wants to pay their respects to do so, without having to go all the way to Washington D.C.

"It means a lot for the valley, not only for Post 644, but for all the veterans, alive and dead. To me, it's one of the eight wonders of the world," Marine Veteran and Commander of the Swoyersville American Legion, Edward Tressa said.

It took organizers with the American Legion more than seven months to get the wall to Swoyersville.

"Just to have the community come together throughout those months and then culminating today it was just unbelievable," Air Force Veteran June Hall said.

The Wall That Heals will be at the Swoyersville American Legion until 3 p.m. on Sunday.

It is open 24 hours a day and free to the public.

There will also be a special opening ceremony for the wall on Saturday at noon.