They said it was well worth the drive.
Cassese, of Sheffield Lake, was in the 11th Marines serving in Vietnam in 1970 and 71.
He said looking at a replica of The Wall in Washington D.C. “brings back a lot of chilling memories — fox holes, sand, monsoons.
“I think about it a lot,” he said. “I had a lot of problems when I got back with fireworks. It slowly faded away.”
Cassese said he and other Vietnam veterans did not receive a warm welcome when they returned.
“Very bad, very poor,” he said. “I had a bad encounter in Chicago when I came back.
“Times have changed. People thank us now.”
Poweska, of Wellington, agreed.
“It is nice to see this,” the Navy veteran said. “It is 100 percent different now.”
The Wall That Heals has a special event scheduled this morning for local schools, children, families and any other organizations focusing on the history of the Vietnam era and the wall.
The wall is located at Central Park in Bellevue (on North Street) and is open 24 hours until the closing ceremonies at 2 p.m. Sunday.
The exhibit includes a Mobile Education Center comprised of photos and service members whose names are found on the wall. Letters and memorabilia left at The Wall in Washington, D.C., a map of Vietnam and a chronological overview of the conflict in Vietnam.
The exhibits tell the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the era surrounding the conflict. They are designed to put American experiences in Vietnam in a historical and cultural context.
The schedule is as follows:
• 8 a.m. — grade school.
• 9 a.m. — middle school.
• 10 a.m. — high school.
Groups still interested should contact 419-217-7154.
Here is the remaining schedule this weekend:
• 1 to 4 p.m. — 50th anniversary commemorative and partners pinning ceremony. The pinning ceremony will pin Vietnam era veterans and family members were applicable. It is for anyone who served 1955-1975 Vietnam era.
• 7 p.m. — KIA remembrance ceremony. Reading of the four-county KIA list, which includes 110 names. U.S. Congressman Bob Gibbs will be in attendance. Missing man presentation and turn down the glass presentation.
• 2 p.m. — Closing ceremony. Historical society will police site immediately following the ceremony.
• 3 p.m. — Taking down The Wall That Heals.