Thousands visit Healing Wall on last day

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July 9, 2006

Thousands of folks flocked to Citizens Park in Aiken Sunday, July 9 to say goodbye to a moving memorial.

The Healing Wall had lit up the hearts of veterans, their families and historians all weekend.

News 12's Lynnsey Gardner spoke with those who stopped to remember.

Sunday was retired Army chaplain Jim Roberts' second visit this week to the Healing Wall. He came when it opened on Thursday, but he wanted to come again, this time in uniform, to remember his best friend---chaplain Michael J Quealy.

"It's an honor for me to be here and honor my closest friend. He was just a great man of God. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about Michael and his sacrifice."

Quealy and Roberts were roommates at chaplain school in Brooklyn, New York. They went over to serve at the same time and were supposed to return together. Instead, Quealy lost his life while reading a dying comrade his last rites in the field. He was forty years old.

"The mission he went on, I could have been on," Roberts says. "I don't always understand these things, but I can trust that God is always in control."

The closing ceremony was held Sunday evening at 7:30 at Citizens Park. The reading of the names of the dead ended around 10:00.

Ed Hammond of the Marine Corps League, who helped arrange for the wall's visit, was the last reader.

All items left at the Wall will be donated to the Aiken County Historical Society Museum, where they'll be put on display.