Vietnam Memorial Wall of SWFL 93/365 Things to Do
The Vietnam Memorial Wall of Southwest Florida is locate in Punta Gorda, Florida about an hour north of Bonita Springs, Florida. A few years ago Jerry and I drove up to visit it and see how they categorized the names on the wall as well as the engraved bricks on the ground. Jerry is the force behind the Collier County Freedom Memorial so we were doing field research.
We’ve seen the actual Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC while serving with Honor Flight. As promised the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Punta Gorda is a half scale replica. It’s amazing to see and we had no idea that it was available to see until we had started Googling war memorials around the area.
While we were visiting there were two men who walked up to the Vietnam Memorial and paused. I must have looked official because one of the men asked me if I could help him find his brother. I am not shaken by much but I can barely stand seeing old men with trembling chins. He was overwhelmed and explained he had never been to Washington DC and would probably never get a chance to go but he was able to make the couple hour drive to see the Vietnam Memorial in Punta Gorda. I located his brother’s name online and showed him how the marking system works. We found the name in short order and I immediately walked away because I knew he needed to be alone there. It’s humbling and heart wrenching to see in person. There was so much loss and so much pain remains.
Before you go, you may want to look up names online so you can find them easily. It is hot and not shaded. You will also be fairly close to a few restaurants so if you do make the trip and it’s a day trip you can easily find rest rooms and a bite to eat before heading home.
Names are not in alphabetical order but in the order of date of death or date declared missing in action. To find names on the wall visit: http://thewall-usa.com/index.asp#search or download “The Wall” app to your smart phone.