GREENFIELD — As the nation pauses to remember fallen military members during Memorial Day weekend, a special display in Greenfield will focus on those lost in Vietnam.
"There are names on that wall that were Marines that I served with," said Master Sgt. Larry Elliott, a Vietnam veteran. "It's not that I will seek out their names, but I know they're on that wall."
The Vietnam Moving Wall will be on display at Konkel Park in Greenfield through the weekend. It's a special day for Elliott. He's never visited the memorial wall in Washington, D.C. He says it would be too much. However, he knew he had to be in Greenfield on Thursday to be a part of this.
"I want to place my hand on that wall and remember them in that way because they didn't come home like I did," Elliott said.
More than 58,000 names are on the wall; seven of which are from Greenfield and Greendale. Elliott helped install the first of many panels, taking time to honor those who have fallen; placing an open palm on several names at once.
He doesn't know any of the names under his hand personally but knows all they went through at the same time.
"It was my way of reaching out to them," Elliott said. "Showing my gratitude because I'm still living. Carrying that panel was like carrying the souls of heroes."
Elliott wasn't the only one helping install the wall. Local ROTC students from Greenfield High School were also there. Despite being separated by decades, they're soon to have one thing in common by serving in one of the armed forces.
"When I joined ROTC sophomore year, it really hit me," Jalen Crawford said. "What should I do with my life? I decided to go with a military branch."
"It was my way of reaching out to them. Showing my gratitude because I'm still living. Carrying that panel was like carrying the souls of heroes." — Master Sgt. Larry Elliott
Crawford is one of many Greenfield students who will join the military. He's selected the Army.
Before he hits boot camp later this year, he's taking time now to respect what those before him did to get him here.
"It's much of an honor," Crawford said. "I never thought I'd put up the Moving Wall. Veterans sacrificed their lives for us to be here. That's why I'm here. I always thank them."
The Vietnam Moving Wall will be open to the public 24 hours a day until Monday afternoon.