A sign with the letters “Sacred Ground” solemnly introduced a musky, black walkway. Carnations lined the wall etched with the names of the more than 58,000 lost during the Vietnam War.
At Friday’s public opening of the traveling memorial, a war veteran read each of the names aloud.
The Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., is on exhibit at Davie’s Forest Lawn Home & Memorial Gardens through Sunday.
Most of the visitors Friday were unrelated to any of the dead, but rather first timers.
“People are just coming out to pay tribute,” said Legacy Director Penny Larson. “That says a lot about our country.”
But for those related to a lost life, a database, similar to the one in Washington D.C., allows a viewer to type in a name and see where on the actual wall in D.C. the person’s name is. The wall is divided into two sections, east and west.
However, the cause of causality is omitted for personal reasons.
The traveling exhibit is three-quarters the size of the original, which was built in the early 1980s following a national design contest.
The replica is eight feet high and 240 feet long. But just like the original, its black reflective service is inscribed with the names of the more than 58,000 servicemen and woman who died or are missing in Vietnam.
Paper and pencils are provided at the traveling exhibit so visitors can make rubbings of names etched on the wall.