News Releases

Murray Salutes Vietnam Veterans at Moving Wall Ceremony

Oct 22 2002

Memorial replica leaves Washington state to continue its nationwide tour

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Today in SeaTac, Washington, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) spoke at the closing ceremony of the "Moving Wall," a half-size replica of the Washington, D.C. Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Created in 1984, two years after the original Wall was dedicated in Washington, D.C., the Moving Wall gives those who cannot visit the nation's capital a chance to reflect on the more than 58,000 Americans whose names are inscribed on the Wall.

As the portable tribute left Washington state to continue its nationwide tour, Senator Murray spoke about the importance of such a tribute and why she continues to advocate for our nation's veterans.

The text of Sen. Murray's statement follows.

Thank you, Jack, for that kind introduction. I want to commend Jack and the Paralyzed Veterans of America for their work every day in Washington State on behalf of all of our veterans, and I want to also acknowledge John King, Director of Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs for the work he does for our veterans as well.

I'm very honored to be here with all of you to pay tribute to The Moving Wall as it leaves our community to bring its message to Americans in another community. Like everyone here this evening, I have a very personal bond to our veterans. My father was among the first soldiers to land on Okinawa, and like many veterans, my father didn't talk about his service. We learned much of what he did for our country only after he died when we found his personal memoirs and Purple Heart.

When I was in college many years ago, I did an internship at the Seattle Veterans' Hospital. Most of the patients at that time were young men my age who had returned from Vietnam. Those experiences showed me the debt we owe the men and women who have served our country. And those experiences led me to seek a position as the first woman on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, where I have been able to work on so many important pieces of legislation to help our veterans.

I'm proud to be here tonight to reflect on the Moving Wall with all of you. No one can deny the power of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. This replica here brings that power to people all across the country, giving Americans a chance to reflect on those who served and sacrificed during the Vietnam War, and letting us share that experience with our veterans, our families, and our children.

In just a few weeks, we will mark the 20th Anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. This Moving Wall began touring the country just two years after the original memorial opened. Over the past two decades, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Moving Wall have given respect and honor to the more than 58,000 names inscribed on the wall. And they remind us of the more than 1,000 Washingtonians lost in Vietnam.

The Memorial and the Moving Wall give all Americans, and particularly those who served in Vietnam, an opportunity to mourn our fallen citizens. Today, a new generation of American men and women are engaged in a global war - a fight against terrorism. We have seen the horror of war brought to our own country. And as always, our military has responded to our nation's call.

Already, we are mourning Washingtonians who have been lost, including several service members from Fort Lewis. The current situation in Iraq means our country may again call upon our military to act. As we prepare for this possible conflict, it is important to demonstrate our commitment to our veterans and their needs. We must commit ourselves to care for those who are fighting the war on terrorism, wherever this war takes American's servicemen and women.

When I look at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Moving Wall, I am reminded why I sought to serve on the Veterans Affairs Committee. I am reminded why I see so many dedicated veterans advocates all across Washington state. And, I am reminded that we all share a commitment to honor those who serve our country. We are united in our stand against terrorism and in our defense of our country.

Tonight, I pledge to work with all of you in the days ahead to ensure we also stand with the men and women in uniform who are on the front line of the terrorism campaign. From one war to another, there is an unbroken chain of service and sacrifice. We as American citizens are part of that chain, and we must do our part to honor those who serve. Soon, this Moving Wall will leave our community. But let's make sure that it leaves behind in all of us a reminder of our obligations to those men and women who protect our freedom.

Thank you once again for the opportunity to be here today.