FRANKLIN — It was an emotional sight for Richard Jaeck and his wife Lynn. The name of his childhood friend, Norman Kissenger, is carved into the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall.
"We were just looking at his name and I got a quick etching and I wasn't going to, but I had to," said Richard. "This is just something special to see him."
Richard and Norman grew up together in Milwaukee. On July 4, 1965, Richard was drafted and ordered to go to Germany. His best friend Norman was drafted a year later, but was sent to fight in Vietnam.
"He was not even in the military, probably 10 months or so, and was killed in Vietnam," said Lynn.
His name can be seen alongside the 58,281 soldiers killed during the war. This traveling memorial wall is a three-quarter scale replica of the original memorial in Washington D.C. You can visit it in Franklin 24 hours a day for free.
"You're able to have the grandkids come with grandpa to hear the stories. You're able to have the people whose health won't allow them to make it there," said Tim Tetz, the site manager for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
The wall has been traveling around the nation since March, providing an opportunity for people to find and etch the name of fallen friends, loved ones, and family members. There are also guided tours, a mobile education center, and more.
WATCH: Tim Tetz, site manager, share details about the traveling wall.
"It's just amazing to see people with families and children coming here to actually physically see it," said Richard.
And with the start of the Fourth of July weekend, many say this is the perfect way to honor those who've lost their lives fighting for our country.
"It's important to recognize that they gave a sacrifice for our community so we could be free," said Steve Olsen, mayor of the City of Franklin.
The traveling wall will be available to visit in Franklin until 2 p.m. Sunday, July 3. Its next stop will be in Chicago Heights.