The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. bares the names of more than 58,000 patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War. The American Veterans Traveling Tribute Vietnam Memorial Wall visited DuPont, Wa. from July 27 - 30.
One name on that wall, Cpt. Harry Cramer, was the first Special Forces Soldier to lose his life during the conflict, and has a special connection to 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne).
Soldiers from 2nd Bn., 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) decided to conduct a five-mile run to the wall to pay homage and give troops the opportunity to experience firsthand some of their group history, on July 28.
"It was humbling for our Soldiers to see the wall here in Dupont," said Captain Oren, a team commander in 2nd Bn., 1st SFG (A). "The guys drive down Cramer Avenue, named after one of our own, each and every day here at JBLM."
Cramer was assigned to the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) and was tragically killed on October 21, 1957 near Nha Trang, Vietnam.
The run, led by 1st Sgt. Robert, included more than 120 Soldiers who paid their respects and built esprit de corps.
"We wanted to do something different and this was a unique chance to combine physical training and unit history," said Robert. "Seeing this wall reminded our guys of their legacy and the men who came before them."
The memorial run helped put into perspective the magnitude and sacrifice of the Vietnam era warfighters.
"During the run you think about the pain in your own body but arriving at the wall and seeing all the names in front of you is very eye-opening and makes the run seem miniscule compared to what they did for us," said Staff Sgt. Thomas Cano, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear noncommissioned officer.
The memorial is the largest travelling Vietnam memorial of its kind and goes all across the United States to different events.
The travelling wall is about 80 percent of the size of the actual memorial in D.C., and has the same amount of names of service members as the original.
The original Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. spans more than 490 feet, stands over 10 feet tall, and is entirely made from a rare solid black granite that can only be found in three locations across the globe.