Wall of Faces designed to honor & heal

By Erica Quednau | equednau@wcia.com

Published 07/08 2014 04:26PM

Updated 07/08 2014 06:20PM

MATTOON -- Many places have war memorials with names of men and women who died serving our country. A Coles County family visits Corporal Nelson Earl Van Gundy's every year. He died in Vietnam, but now they're making his memorial a little more personal and hope others will do the same. WCIA-3's Erica Quednau has the story.

They're the names of people who gave the ultimate sacrifice; giving their own lives to keep us safe.

"Earl was, uh, he enlisted in the Marines shortly after he got out of high school and then, when he went to Vietnam, he was subsequently shot and killed."

This memorial sits in Peterson Park and helps us remember those lost in Vietnam, like Corporal Nelson Earl Van Gundy.

"He was the first casualty from Coles County."

Because of that, he has this memorial dedicated to him. It's a place his brother, Harold, and his family visit every year.

"To our family, it's very important we don't forget obviously. But, we'd like for the whole community to remember."

Last week, they added this to his stone, hoping it will make remembering easier.

"It becomes more personal when you can actually put a face to a name and say, 'Okay, geez, he looked so young.'"

It's something similar to what the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is doing in Washington. They're looking for pictures of men and women who died to put on the Wall of Faces. They'll be put online and inside an education center. Corporal Van Gundy is already there.

"It makes it so, to where, yeah, I can understand it a little better and hopefully, with the survivors and the veterans, maybe it'll help with the healing too."

The Van Gundy's hope to add more pictures to the memorial in Peterson Park, but the idea is in the very early stages.

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