The scene at the Indiana Wesleyan University campus looked touchingly familiar. Veterans and their loved ones came together to look for names on the wall. The half-sized replica of the Vietnam Memorial travels across the country and gives veterans who haven’t or who can’t travel to see the actual memorial in Washington D.C. a chance to recognize their comrades.
"Help give some, some way for Vietnam vets to come out and remember and hopefully heal,” said K.C. Haight, the organizer of the event.
The Moving Wall event also comes with a band and other activities to celebrate veterans. But few there know the story of the bearded vet providing the entertainment.
"I was blindsided by it, actually. I was doing that to pass the time because I couldn't move around. I never anticipated it turn into this,” said Hank Barbe.
Barbe was part of the first Iraq invasion in 2003. He was a flight medic in the Army after also serving in the Marines. When he was discharged, he struggled with PTSD and repeatedly tried to take his own life. Music was part of his recovery.
Now, his band “Three Beards” plays at veterans events as part of an outreach to those who may still be struggling.
"This guy's playing in a rock band, playing all over the country on the radio, and then I talk to them, and this guy feels the same way I feel. I beat myself up thinking there's something wrong with me. No, there's nothing wrong with you. It's normal,” said Barbe.
Hank and other veterans naturally gather around the Moving Wall to share that message of healing.
“I feel like, if you're suffering and you're by yourself, there's people who feel just like you. It's a lot easier getting out of that hole if you're not the only one sitting in that hole."