Last week I was in Washington DC for the Mission Possible workshop conducted by Model Classroom and the Pearson Foundation. It was a thought provoking and emotional experience, including a day at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial listening to veterans share their stories.
I don’t have a family connection to a name on The Wall but in the past have visited with others who do have a family member honored. As we were preparing to visit The Wall last week, one of the teachers in our group mentioned that her first cousin's name is listed. Leann shared an emotional story about her personal connection to her cousin. She also mentioned that he is buried in Torrington, Wyoming. This created a connection for me since my wife’s family is from Torrington and in fact I was flying back after the workshop to Torrington to rejoin my family who is currently visiting family.
I asked Leann about her cousin and she had already located his name on The Wall using the app from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. The app allows you to search for names on the wall by name, hometown, state, etc. Her cousin’s name is Elmer D Lauck. I took a picture of her screen showing the location of his name and later on our tour I took a picture of his name on The Wall.
After the conference I met my family in Torrington and today I decided to find Mr. Lauck’s grave in the Torrington cemetery. I entered the cemetery and found the directory showing the location of the marker. I drove up to the military portion of the cemetery and quickly located the grave of Mr. Lauck. His white marble military marker is located on top of a hill overlooking beautiful Wyoming pastures and in the shade of a large Cottonwood tree. I placed a red carnation and a small American flag at the grove and paused for a few minutes before taking a few pictures.
Last week at the Mission Possible workshop we focused on the importance of stories. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, the names on The Wall are just names if not attached to a story. Last week I touched his name on The Wall and today - over 1,600 miles away - I knelt by his grave and thanked him for his service to our country.
These pictures are for Leann and her family. Today as I visited it was peaceful. There was a light breeze and in the shade of the Cottonwood the only sound was a slight rustling of leaves from above. Let them know that he is remembered and honored.