Vietnam veteran leads effort to bring The Wall That Heals to Pennsylvania
By BOB KALINOWSKI | The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. | Published: September 4, 2019
PLYMOUTH, Pa. (Tribune News Service) — Vietnam veteran Clyde Peters led the effort to bring The Wall That Heals to Plymouth, and Tuesday he led the pack of motorcyclists who escorted the wall to his hometown.
“Unbelievable. What a feeling that you got, the rush of it all to bring this to Plymouth, Pennsylvania. This town should be honored it came here,” Peters said, shortly after the large parade of emergency responder vehicles arrived at Wyoming Valley West High School.
The wall, a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., only visits 34 places a year.
Bringing the wall to Plymouth was special for Peters, not only as a wounded Vietnam War veteran who received two Purple Hearts, but because he lost loved ones there, including his nephew.
Prior to the convoy leaving the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Twp., Peters huddled all the motorcyclists around him to share his story.
“I thank the good Lord I made it. I know a lot of my friends didn’t make it home and I wish to God they did,” the 69-year-old said.
Peters said he spoke to his nephew David Lee just three days before he was killed. They made plans to meet up the following weekend.
“We met, but in a different way,” Peters said.
While Peters, the youngest of 17 children, was Lee’s uncle, they both were 18 years old when they served in Vietnam around the same time.
After Lee was killed, Peters was allowed to leave Vietnam, greet the arrival of his remains at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware and escort the remains home.
Peters will search for his nephew’s name after the wall is erected today.
The names of the more than 58,300 U.S. troops killed during the Vietnam War are on the wall.
“This wall means everything to me because I was there. I know what it’s like to watch death in the face,” Peters said. “I know what it is like to hurt for 50-some years. This wall is more than just a memory to me. It’s a way to say thank you to the heroes who gave their lives for all of us.”
While Peters did the work of convincing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund to bring the wall here, he credited the community with rallying around the cause to help make it happen.
“It’s because the people wanted it here,” Peters said.