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What the wall tells us

February 20, 2014 Letters to the Editor

Interesting facts from the Vietnam War Memorial: a little history most people will never know.

There are 58,267 names engraved on the wall.

Those names were arranged in the order in which they died, by date. Within each date the names were alphabetized.

The first known casualty was Richard Fitzgibbon of North Waymouth, Mass. Listed by the Department of Defense as killed June 8, 1956. His name is listed with that of his son, Lance Cpl. Richard Fitzgibbon III, killed Sept. 7, 1965.

There are three sets of fathers and sons listed on the wall.

A total 39,996 were aged 22 or younger when they died.

The largest group by age, 33,103, were 18 when they died.

Twelve service members on the wall were only 17.

Five were only 16.

One, PFC Dan Bullock, was killed at age 15.

A total of 997 were killed on their first day in Vietnam.

Another 1,448 were killed on their last day of combat.

There are 31 sets of brothers; 31 sets of parents lost both of their sons.

Those on the wall included 54 killed from one high school: Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia.

The names of eight women are on the wall, all killed while nursing the wounded.

Of the total 244 recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, the wall includes 153.

Bealsville, Ohio, population 475, lost six of her sons in Vietnam.

West Virginia, with 711 dead, had the greatest loss per capita of any state.

The most casualties for a single day: 245 on Jan. 31, 1968.

The most casualties for single month: 2,414 in May 1968.

Most Americans who read this will only see the numbers the Vietnam War created. To those of us who served and survived, and to the families of those who didn’t, we see the faces; we feel the pain that these numbers represent. Until we too pass away, we will be haunted by these numbers because they represent our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters.

There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.