Version of Vietnam War monument comes to Beallsville


Beallsville, Ohio: The 400-resident town lost six soldiers in the Vietnam War, the largest per capita loss of life in the nation.

July 26, 2004

By Kate York, [email protected]

The Marietta Times

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Marietta, Ohio 45750

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Beallsville, Ohio - Thousands of visitors to the site of the traveling replica of the Vietnam veterans memorial wall over the weekend took photos, left flowers, prayed and touched the names of those they came to pay tribute to who died while serving during the war.

The wall, a half-size replica of the permanent Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., was set up in Beallsville, about an hour's drive from Marietta in Monroe County, Friday and will remain at the Beallsville High School football stadium until Thursday. It is open 24 hours a day.

"There are no words for this experience," said Phyllis Buettner, of Paden City, W.Va., who visited the wall Saturday. "It's just awesome. It's a very quiet and respectful atmosphere."

The black granite wall of names in Washington, D.C., is 493 feet long, with 70 panels of names of soldiers lost in Vietnam. The replica is a condensed version.

About 3,000 people visited the moving wall Friday night, said Dean Gramlich, a member of the Better Beallsville Bureau, which organized the visit.

"People were coming all through the night," Gramlich said. "At least 20 people came after midnight."

Many of those attending had fought in the war, said Marty Eckelberry, himself a veteran.

"The place was so crowded," he said. "The whole experience was very moving."

The wall had been set up by 30 volunteers Friday after traveling to Beallsville from Mexico. It is one of two traveling Vietnam walls that have made their way from town to town for more than 20 years, allowing those who can't travel to Washington, D.C., to pay their respects.

By Saturday, memorials for missed family and friends had been left by the wall.

Flowers, candles and letters were beneath some panels, while underneath one, a well-worn pair of shoes and a pack of Camel cigarettes had been left for a soldier.

All the items left at the wall will travel with the monument and become part of a museum display in the future.

"It's overwhelming," said Lou Buettner of Paden City, who had never seen the wall in Washington, D.C. "I knew a lot of people who went to Vietnam, so this really has an impact."

Beallsville is expected to continue to receive a steady stream of visitors throughout the week.

"They say we should expect around 10,000 to 15,000 visitors," said Barbara Dornon, co-president of the Better Beallsville Bureau. "That's more than 20 times the size of our entire population."

The 400-resident town lost six soldiers in the Vietnam War, the largest per capita loss of life in the nation.


"I came today especially to see the names of the men from Beallsville," said Beallsville resident Steve Susac. "It's quite an experience."


Wreaths in the center of the field also paid tribute to the six Beallsville soldiers.

"The whole thing is just great," said Thomas Mason, of Procter, W.Va. "It's so humbling to see all those names. I'm very glad I came."