Man Visits Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall to Find Grandfather's Name
By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9
NORMAN, Oklahoma -- The opening ceremony doesn't take place until 7 p.m. Wednesday night, but already many people are visiting the Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall in Norman.
The Dignity Wall is smaller than the one in Washington D.C., yet it contains all the names of all the dead. And unlike the official memorial, it can travel the country.
"That way it gives the opportunity for the Vietnam veterans who will never have a chance to go to Washington D.C. to be able to come, to be able perhaps to see their comrades names or for families to be able to come to see their loved one's names," said Jeremy Sparks, with the Dignity Memorial.
Jason Willige came to find the name of James L. Whited, the grandfather he never knew. Whited, an Air Force pilot, disappeared during a mission over Laos.
"I've never had the chance to go to Washington, D.C. to see the actual memorial itself," said Willige. "So when I heard it was out here I couldn't wait to come out."
During the war, Oklahoma recorded the second highest casualty rate in the nation. So there are many names here that Oklahomans will remember, including Bob Kalsu, an OU All American, and the only NFL player to die in Vietnam.
Another name was John L. Prichard, a graduate of Southeast High School and Annapolis and a Marine. Bill Arnold was pleased to find the name of his old friend.
"It's great. You know we like to honor all the people that died for our country, and that's what I'm trying to do," said Arnold.
The Dignity Wall will remain on display at Norman's Reaves Park through Sunday.