Over a hundred people attended the opening ceremony for the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall at Innovation Park on Thursday.
Ryan McCombie shared the story of returning to the U.S. from Vietnam, saying that the first thing everyone did was to change into civilian clothing. A retired U.S. Navy Captain who served for 26 years and a Vietnam veteran, he said the country did not welcome the men in uniforms when they returned.
“Today, we welcome home again, all of our veterans,” McCombie said. A standing ovation followed.
The opening ceremony included a remark from Penn State President Eric Barron, a tribute to the Gold Star families and a pinning ceremony.
The Traveling Wall is an 80 percent replica of the memorial wall in Washington D.C. Hosted by WPSU, it will be open to visitors through Sunday afternoon.
Brent Pasquinelli, a Purple Heart veteran, said the Traveling Wall is part of a healing process.
“I believe that most of us have been affected directly or indirectly by this conflict," he said. "We’ve all waited a long time to heal.”