The nation's Vietnam War memorials help vet revisit a past he tried to bury





When he came home in 1967, he gathered everything from that time -- clothing, photographs, letters to his mother that she had carefully saved -- and he threw it all out. He set out to forget.

But as he got older, he wondered how much he had really moved on. He began to think that the path to healing might lie not in forgetting but in a meandering journey through all 50 states, visiting hundreds of memorials dedicated to those who had died and to those who had lived only to face other hells back home. Forty-two years after Michael Walsh came home from Vietnam, he set out on a journey to remember.

* * *

It's raining in Pittsburgh. The courtyard is quiet and green. Walsh stands in front of a granite and steel structure and runs his fingers over a damp slab engraved with names. He always looks for familiar ones. Today his hands pause at Jeffrey M. Walsh. No relation to his own Germantown clan, Michael Walsh tells his friend Steve Campanella. It doesn't matter, though. They are all brothers.

Eighteen months into his memorial project, Walsh, 62, a former schoolteacher, has been to 27 states and nearly a hundred memorials. He photographs them all, posting entries to his blog, MichaelFWalsh.blogspot.com. After Pittsburgh, he and Campanella, whom Walsh has known since kindergarten and who also served in Vietnam, will head to Indiana and West Virginia before looping home to Maryland, guided by a GPS they have named Thomasina....



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