SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Behind every panel and every name, lies a story. While those names can’t share those stories, others can.
“So you’re 15-years-old, this man on the wall was 15…he’s your age,” said site manager and tour guide Vic Muschler, while speaking to a group of students.
Making their way down the wall of more than 58,000 names were Upstate students and teachers. As they passed by the veterans who came out to find a few of their friends’ names on the wall, they were greeted and thanked for taking the time to learn.
“It’s good for them to learn what happened over there and what went on,” said James Searcy, who served in the infantry from 1968-69.
Each tour differs depending on the ages of the students. More details were mentioned for students like the ones in Mr. Raymond’s 10th and 11th grade classes.
“I just think it’s real important for them to kind of see this first-hand and understand the history that maybe they don’t know a lot about and the sacrifice that was given by all the men and women during the Vietnam war,” said Chris Raymond, Oakbrook Prep School 10th and 11th grade teacher.
While many took their time finding the names they were looking for, others sat back and watched, taking in an experience they used to think they could only get in Washington D.C.
“To come here and see this and all the effort put into this, it’s a really great thing to have in Spartanburg,” said Raymond.
Those who wanted to take a piece of the experience from the day with them were handed pieces of paper and pencils. They began to trace the name back onto their paper to take home with them.
“Never forget the families left behind,” said Muschler.
The wall is open 24 hours a day until Sunday for anyone who would like to stop by and pay their respects.
Friday, at 7:30 a.m., there will be a wreath laying ceremony and at 7 p.m. there will be a candlelight vigil at the Downtown Spartanburg Airport.
On Saturday, there will be a Veterans Day ceremony beginning at 11 a.m. with a parade at 4 p.m.
Sunday will be the reading of the Upstate veterans names on the wall at 9 a.m.