Wreath laying ceremony honors names on The Wall That Heals


PADUCAH — The Veterans of Foreign Wars Jackson Harris Post 1191 in Paducah presented a wreath laying ceremony Friday evening to honor the 58,318 names on The Wall That Heals.

Representatives of Milner and Orr Funeral Home, The Paducah Sun and WPSD Local 6 laid the wreaths under the wall’s apex before taps was played and a prayer was delivered. Then, many of the visitors took part in a candlelight procession from one end of the wall to the other.

Michael Riley, VFW Paducah’s post commander, took part in the ceremony. He said one of the names on the wall is Henry H. Allman, who was his best friend.

“We trained together. We went to Vietnam together,” said Riley.

Riley said Allman was killed during an ambush in the city of Tuy Hòa.

“Henry was on point on the right flank, and he got shot. He was one of the first ones to get killed, and I found out about it a few minutes later,” recalled Riley. “He was a really nice young man, nice guy. We spent many hours together talking about the hot rods we were going to buy when we got back from Vietnam.”

But, for all those who didn’t make it back, Riley is proud their names have made it to Paducah.

“It’s a great thing for the wall to be here, because most of the people that are here visiting it will never get to see the one in Washington, so it’s very humbling,” Riley said.

Riley said it’s important for people of all generations to see the names etched on the panels, because it keeps them in history.

“If the name is unspoken, then the person is really dead. But as long as the name is spoken, they’re still alive in a sense,” said Riley.

The Wall That Heals is open to the public continuously, day and night, until Sunday afternoon, when the closing ceremony takes place at 2:30 p.m. Law enforcement officers will always be on site, even during the overnight hours.

Local 6 streamed the entire wreath laying ceremony live online. If you missed it, you can watch it in its entirety in the video below.

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