By Abbey Niezgoda
1/19/09

This
afternoon the line of people at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in
Washington, D.C. stretched for almost a mile. Many were there to
reflect on the past especially an unpopular war that had killed about
50,000 Americans.

Mike Vanebo came all the way from Oregon to
touch the Wall and feel the name of someone he once knew. Vanebo
said, “I saw all the bodies come home every day, and my friend Andrew
was one of them. He’s why I came here. I have to find his name.”
Tears came to Vanebo’s eyes when he
finally found Andrew Abramson’s name. But with his sadness comes hope
for the future and hope for the man about to move into White House.
“I think about how all those kids died, and we never won. Iraq is just
the same, but if anybody can turn the world around, Obama can.”
Vietnam Veteran John Donaldson is also waiting for the
change. Not only is he is suffering from Agent Orange and cancer, but
he is now one of many veterans who are homeless. “We’re on the streets
of every city in America. There’s something wrong with that picture,”
Donaldson said.
After countless complaints to the
Department of Veteran Affairs, Donaldson is forced to walk the streets
during the day and stay in a shelter at night. Since he lives in D.C.,
Donaldson often walks by the Vietnam Wall and he touches the 27 names
of his friends who were killed in the war. He can also feel the energy
of change that a new administration is promising to bring, “We’re
doing what we can but the American public has to do their part, and
Barack Obama has to do his. He can do it, but it’s going to take
time.”