The 25th Anniversary of the Wall at Washington D.C.

From: jazrinaldi@
Subject: Sitrep: DC Report
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2007 22:17:32 +0000

Fellow Brothers,
I just returned from my DC trip to the Wall for the 25th anniversary celebration. The following is my Report.
I left home at 4AM Sat. the 10th. Had a nice ride thru the rolling hills of PA but did run into alittle snow. I found a great oldies station on the radio and just drove along thinking of all you guys and the times we had in Nam together. I think I may have even seen Wally dancing to a few of the tunes. I arrived at about 12:15 and headed to the Wall, as I could'nt locate Ray Gavi yet, so I figured I'd go pay my respects. Upon arriving at the Wall a guy walks up to me and says Your from the 5th Div I see and it turns out it was Carl Hiestand the national editor for the Red Diamond newsletter. We talked for awhile and he said he'd love to see more of us 12th Cav guys at a reunion someday.He asked about Coop and LT Schorpp and told me to say hello to you guys. I told him I would make the next one he had close to me in NY.
I then kept walking down to the Wall and I must say that about every twenty feet or so I hear someone yell out "Heh 5th Inf Div.". I talked to guys from the 1/11th, the 1/61st and even a guy from the 1/77th. I must say I never saw the old Red Diamond get so much attention. I will also say here that I have never shaken so many hands and hugged so many Vets in my life. We truely are a Band of Brothers. I stopped and talked to all 12 of our KIA's. Said a prayer and told them how much we all loved and missed them and that they would NEVER BE FORGOTTON. I said a special hello to Monte Stamm for you Wally. I saluted each one and let them know that we all pray for them and their families. I should say here that the crowd was Huge. People everywhere all hugging and shaking hands. I must have had atleast 50 people, non-Vets, and more soldiers in uniform walk up to me and thanked me for my service to my Country.
I finally located Gavi at the big concert at the Washington Monument. Alot of groups like the Gold Diggers that played for our troops in Nam. We stayed for awhile but it was to cold to sit there long. Ray was with a friend of his that he met on Vets day at the Wall about 12 years ago, Dick Thomas and his wife Karen. They are two of the greatest people you could ever meet. I feel like I've known them all my life. Dick was a door gunner on choppers and he got shot and shipped home. These two would fit right in with the Troop. I hope they can make one of our Reunions as I loved to have you guys meet them.
We then went down to 20th street off of Constution Ave. There is a group that meets there every year on Vets day and they have been for many years. They are mostly black brothers and their wives and they are the kindest group you will ever meet. They cook food and have beer there and any Vet is more that welcome to stop by and eat and drink with them. Ray knows most of these guys so he introduced me to all of them. We then went back to our hotel and ended up across the street at a local pub that was filled with young soldiers and their girlfriends. These people were very kind to us and had nothing but nice things to say to us.  Back at the hotel there were atleast 80+ guys from the 82nd Airborne. WWII and Nam Vets also. They had a meeting room like we do at our Reunions and again, any Vet was more than welcome to stop by and have a drink or get something to eat.
Sunday we went back down to the Wall for the dedication and wreath laying ceremony. This was an outstanding tribute to our fallen Brothers. I met Brother Al Christine, His wife Sue and their son,daughter-in-law and their new Grandaughter. It was great to see Al and family and spend sometime together.  General Colin Powell was the main speaker but they had nurses and other speakers, all Nam Vets I might add, that did a beautiful job. They even read a letter from the young lady that designed the Wall that was sent by her as she could'nt make the ceremoy.
It was then back to 20th street for more goodtimes with our fellow Brothers and then back to the hotel for some much needed rest. I must say that this was a very humbling experience for me. I haven't felt this loved by strangers in my life. Everyone you made eye contact with extended his or her hand and gave you a hug. I heard nothing but kind words and laughter the whole time. I plan on making the trip again and highly reccommend that if you get the chance to be there, by all means go.
In closing let me say that it was an honor to be there for the Troop. I also want to end with the words from a song by Jennifer Lopez that really says it all and is exactly how I feel about all you Great Americans. I don't know the name of the song but here are the words:
"Anytime you need a friend, I will be there. Never be alone again so don't you fear. Even if your miles away, I'm by your side. Don't you ever be lonely, love will make it alright."
That's how I felt these last two days with all the wonderful Brothers I met and hugged and it's the way I have felt about my Cav family since my tour in Nam.
God Bless you all and I will be sending some pictures out as soon as I can get my daughter to help me.
Your Brother forever, Jim (Rag) Rinaldi, 1st Plt. 68/69  



I have those "Cav moments" from time to time myself so I know what you mean.

One thing I forgot to mention in my report was that there was about 600 Vietnamese men and women there and they did lay a wreath also. They were carrying this huge banner that read"Thank you American soldiers for bringing us home". They were hugging every soldier that got within 10 feet of them. I was blown away by this. The only thing I could say to them was that I was sorry that they didn't let us win for them so they could stay where they were born with their families. They all said about the samething, that this is their country now and they are home. These people showed alot of love and respect to us Nam Vets and it's something I will never forget.

Peace, Rag

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Photos by Tanya Holditch