Veteran searches for names of childhood friends on memorial wall

WILMINGTON,NC (WWAY) — History tells a fair share of war stories with men and women, who sacrificed their lives so we could now be free. One veteran tells us why he chose not to talk of the war for years following his return.

58,307 names are chiseled in the black granite Vietnam Traveling Wall. Eight of those names are women.

“It’s probably a war that we should have never fought,” Joe Harvey said. “These poor fellas and even some women…their names shouldn’t even be on there.”

This is the second time Harvey visited the wall. Just recently, Harvey began talking about his wartime experience.

“It wasn’t until, unfortunately, that I was diagnosed with prostate cancer as a result of the exposure to the Agent Orange that I started talking about the war,” Harvey said.

Harvey says he grew up in a town where many people left to fight, but only few returned. Now, their names are on the wall.

Friday morning, he searched for three names.

“There are three fellas, who I grew up with that come from a small town Wildwood, New Jersey, which is a seashore resort as they say,” Harvey said. “[Their names are] Jimmy Bechan, George Coleman, and Michael Callahan. They were three boys who I grew up with.”

Harvey says the local Vietnam veterans chapter in Wildwood also re-created a wall to pay homage to veterans.

“Without them, the freedom that you have in this country you wouldn’t have today,” Harvey said.

The Vietnam Traveling Wall will be in Wilmington until Monday in the Mayfaire parking lot off of Military Cutoff Road.

Categories: Local, New Hanover

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