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THE AMERICAN VETERAN'S TRAVELING WALL

Updated on April 7, 2010

THE IMPACT OF THE TRAVELING WALL

The American Veterans Tribute set up The Traveling Wall May 21, 2009 in Lufkin at the V.F.W. post on 1800 Ford Chapel Road. The wall is in remembrance of those that lost their lives fighting for our country. It took several hours to assemble the 370 foot wall. It is 80 percent the size of the memorial in Washington. However, it includes all of the same names and has the same impact as the memorial. The wall was open to the public 24 hours a day and it stayed through Memorial Day. They took it down Tuesday morning at 7 a.m.

On Wednesday, May the 20th, I saw a sight that I've never seen in my life before when the American Veteran Traveling Tribute rolled into Lufkin, Texas. My daughter and I had went in to town to grab a bite to eat and when we were heading back home, I heard sirens. Naturally, I stopped right where I was at. The policeman motioned for me to continue going and all I could see behind me was more cops and a limousine with flags on it.

Now, I'm not one to read the paper or to watch the news on tv, so I had no idea what was going on. I thought that maybe President Obama had came to town! I turned onto a side street and went through a neighborhood to get back onto the road to take us home. Lo and behold, while I was at the stop sign, here comes the police again! I was beginning to think I was in trouble! Thankfully, he kept going and the next thing I saw were 5 different cop cars, the limousine, 4 of the area radio station vans, our local paper's car, and the television van. I watched as they turned into Lufkin VFW Post and thought that was the end of it. Just as I started to go forward, here comes another cop car with sirens and lights blaring!

Behind him came, what I can only surmise, were at least 150 motorcyclists on Harley Davidsons. Now, if you aren't familiar with a Harley, you will never forget the rumble and vibration when you DO run across one. To sit there while they all passed by was an experience of a lifetime! Now, I don't drive a small car, mind you. I have an old 97 Chevy Blazer that weighs quite a bit when I have it loaded down with my candles, as I did that day. But that blazer rumbled with the vibration of those Harleys!

My daughter and I waved and saluted everyone that we could! I loved that I got to share the experience of it with her. Simply because of the fact that I got to teach her about something that children don't seem to learn about in school anymore. Why she should respect a member of our Armed Forces, what they have done for us, and why she should thank one when she sees them. The same thing my dad taught me as a child. I thought just how fitting it was to watch all of those American made motorcycles roll that beautiful tribute to America's Heroes into town!

The next day we visited the tribute. I spoke with the men who were working there selling t-shirts, who were both veterans and was so proud of my daughter for speaking up and telling them thank you without me having to tell her to. I wish I had thought to ask them their names but I didn't even think to.

We walked around the area and you could sense the magnitude of what that wall meant in the air. I'm not really a cry at a commercial kind, but I cried walking around and reading the names on that wall. I had a great uncle who died in a war, but I never knew him as it happened before I was even born. I'm truly blessed. But I'm more blessed because of the names on that wall and the ones who continue to fight for our freedom. The impact of it hit me so hard in the heart that I broke down and just flat out cried. One of the veterans in the booth came towards me as my daughter and I were leaving and I told him, "I don't normally cry like this." To which he replied. "That's the patriot in you. Nothing to be ashamed of." I hugged his neck and told him thank you for everything and we left for home.

The next day, I went back again with my camera to get some photos of it and carried those two vets some BBQ. I walked around getting photos of the artwork they had there and the moment I got within 6 foot of that wall, the tears started again. Even though it's just a replica, it still carries the same somberness and glory as the real one. If you ever get an opportunity to see either of them, I suggest you do. Just be forewarned: The wall has all the power of the memorial in Washington, D.C., if you take a minute to think about the people represented on it.

I had the chance to meet a lot of veterans that day and also some servicemen. To look at the photos and art that was there and to hear those men relate their stories of war while they searched for friends' names on the wall was an honor for me. It's something I've never heard, nor done before. To stand there and watch a grown man cry and ask "Why. Why did they need that horrible war?" while reading the Korean War section was pure heartbreaking. I told him that we may never know the reason why.

As I watched him walk away, another man walked up and stood there. When I looked at him, I had to look up to the sky to see his face. He was a tall, handsome older gentleman and looked so nice in his dress uniform. I asked him if I could take his picture. He gestured for a friend of his to join him and I snapped the photo. Later I found out that he was R. LTG. Orren Whiddon. I'll never forget how tall he was!

I saw men that day walking just as straight and proud as they could in their old service gear and I saw them in fatigues as they rolled their wheelchairs up for a closer look. And on every face there was something I will never forget the look of. Pride in what they had done and sorrow for who they lost.

As I was leaving, I happened upon a young boy who really didn't even look old enough to be out of school, in his fatigues. I asked him if I could get his picture

and he stood up straight and proud and said, "Yes ma'am!" When I lowered the camera, he smiled and told me thank you for taking my picture. I just smiled at him as yet another tear rolled down my cheek and told him it was yet another honor for me to be able to take it. He hugged my neck. His name was Wes Mohon. All I could think of is that could very well be my son putting his life on the line for America.. and how much he still looked like a baby.

Even as I remember those two days and type up this lense, I still have tears in my eyes. But if given the chance, I'll go again. Hopefully one day, I'll be able to see the real wall, but if not, I'm thankful that I had the chance to see this one.

THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER NARRATIVE

I HAD TO PUT THIS ON YOU TUBE IN TWO PARTS, AS THE VIDEO WAS TOO LONG. IT'S A NARRATIVE ON THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER AND THE NATIONAL ANTHEM SUNG AFTER IT.

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL AND COMPELLING STORY AND SONG SET TO VIDEO WITH THE PHOTOS I TOOK AT THE AMERICAN VETERANS TRAVELING TRIBUTE WALL. IT'S SOMETHING, IN MY OPINION, THAT EVERY AMERICAN SHOULD LISTEN TO. I DOUBT VERY SERIOUSLY THAT IT IS TAUGHT IN OUR SCHOOLS TODAY, IF IT WERE, OUR COUNTRY WOULD PROBABLY BE IN A BETTER SHAPE.

PEOPLE SEEM TO FORGET THIS COUNTRY WAS BUILT AS ONE NATION UNDER GOD. IF THE PEOPLE DEFENDING OUR RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS AREN'T RESPECTED AND HONORED, THEN WE, AS A NATION FAIL.

THE SAME GOES FOR THE ONES, WHO UP UNTIL TODAY, HAVE DEFENDED THOSE SAME RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS. WHILE EVERYONE IS "TOO BUSY" TO ATTEND A MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE OR VETERAN'S DAY TRIBUTE, REMEMBER THIS... IF NOT FOR THEM.. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO WHATEVER ELSE IT IS YOU ARE DOING INSTEAD OF SHOWING YOUR RESPECT!!

RESPECT YOUR VETS AND YOUR ARMED FORCES!

THEY ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR YOU TO BE FREE!!

The Star Spangled Banner - Part 1

This video had to be put into two parts on youtube.

The Star Spangled Banner - Part 2

VIETNAM PAINTINGS - ARTIST NORM BERGSMA

"We should like you, our brothers, to know something of the trouble we went through in Asia. At that time we were completely overwhelmed, the burden was more that we could bear, in fact we told ourselves that this was the end, Yet we believe now that we had this sense of impending disaster so that we might learn to trust, not in ourselves, but in God who can raise the dead. It was God who preserved us from such deadly perils, and it is he who still preserves us."

2 Corinthians 1:8-10, Paul of Tarsus.

Point Man 65 A.D.

This is the opening on artist Norm Bergsma's website. His prints were the first thing I saw before the wall. I was drawn back to them after visiting the wall too. They are simply amazing. He was drafted into the army in the summer of '68 and ended up going into the Vietnam war in '69.

Norm is painting an ongoing series about his experiences in Vietnam that visually express one man's journey through Post Traumatic Stress and the struggle to come to terms with war and its aftermath of combat. Norm credits Jesus Christ with the inspiration to paint and the healing it has brought him. It is his sincere desire to share some of his divine healing with others through his paintings. excerpt from his bio.

I think he is one of the most talented artists I've ever had the chance to view. The following pictures are just a few of the ones he had on exhibit at the wall. Visit his site to see his gallery. You won't be disappointed.

WORKS OF NORM BERGSMA

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A NEW DAYAIR CALVARYBAND OF BROTHERSBAD MOON RISINGBORN AMERICANCORPSMANDAY IS DONEFIELD CROSSRIDE ONTHE LETTER
A NEW DAY
A NEW DAY
AIR CALVARY
AIR CALVARY
BAND OF BROTHERS
BAND OF BROTHERS
BAD MOON RISING
BAD MOON RISING
BORN AMERICAN
BORN AMERICAN
CORPSMAN
CORPSMAN
DAY IS DONE
DAY IS DONE
FIELD CROSS
FIELD CROSS
RIDE ON
RIDE ON
THE LETTER
THE LETTER

VIETNAM WAR FACTS & VETERAN'S PRAYER

Click thumbnail to view full-size
VETERAN'S PRAYERVIETNAM WAR FACTSVIETNAM WAR MYTHSFIRST TO BE KILLED IN WAR OR MIAWELCOME HOME BY NORM BERGSMA
VETERAN'S PRAYER
VETERAN'S PRAYER
VIETNAM WAR FACTS
VIETNAM WAR FACTS
VIETNAM WAR MYTHS
VIETNAM WAR MYTHS
FIRST TO BE KILLED IN WAR OR MIA
FIRST TO BE KILLED IN WAR OR MIA
WELCOME HOME BY NORM BERGSMA
WELCOME HOME BY NORM BERGSMA

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION WAS FROM 1775-1783.

THE WAR OF 1812 WAS FROM 1812-1815.

THE MEXICAN WAR WAS FROM 1846-1848.

THE CIVIL WAR WAS BETWEEN THE UNION AND THE CONFEDERACY. IT WAS FROM 1861-1865.

THE SPANISH AMERICAN WAR WAS IN 1898.

WORLD WAR I WAS FROM 1914-1918.

WORLD WAR II WAS FROM 1939-1945.

THE KOREAN WAR WAS FROM 1950-1953.

THE VIETNAM WAR WAS FROM 1960-1970.

DESERT STORM WAS FROM 1990-1991.

FIND MORE WARS INVOLVING AMERICA at HistoryCentral.com

HONOR OUR HEREOS HERE

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    • Richard-H profile image

      Richard 6 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      Wonderful tribute to all fallen heroes. Beautifully presented. Good luck in the Readers Choice Awards : http://www.squidoo.com/lens-sightings-2010

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 6 years ago

      Lovely tribute lens and great information. I have featured it on Squidoo LOTD Lenses and also on The Anzacs. Congrats on LOTD

    • JeffreyTymczak LM profile image

      JeffreyTymczak LM 6 years ago

      Thank You for the very informative lens! I loved it! I rated it up and joined your fan club, hope to see you in my fan club too! Great Job!!!

      Jeff

    • rayban malaysia profile image

      rayban malaysia 6 years ago

      very informative. thanks for honoring all the heroes

    • profile image

      inspirearun 6 years ago

      Very nice

    • profile image

      patricksplan 6 years ago

      Visit www.refresheverything.com/callshome and text 104113 to 73774 to VOTE for JoeOnTheMove 501(c)3 in the Pepsi Refresh Project so they can give away over 75,000 phone calls to the troops this holiday season!

    • davidcompass profile image

      davidcompass 6 years ago

      Awesome! Great work.I am really impressed that your daughter gets it.Keep up the good work!

    • Akitajitsu profile image

      Jen 6 years ago from California

      This sounds like an amazing experience. A very well deserved LotD!

    • Akitajitsu profile image

      Jen 6 years ago from California

      This sounds like an amazing experience. A very well deserved LotD!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 6 years ago from Concord VA

      Very interesting. Congratulations on LotD!!

    • profile image

      soaringsis 6 years ago

      Thank you, for such a wonderful and complete story. We must never forget our Veterans and Military that have enabled us to live Free. A well deserved LOD.

    • profile image

      Deeishere 6 years ago

      Really nice pictures. I thank God for the men and woman who is fighting for our country. My prayers are with them daily.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Congrats, I understand the necessary of war when it comes..

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 6 years ago from US

      I went to this with my Dad, who is a Vietnam vet and just now starting to open up about his time there. It was one of the most memorable days of my life. Perfect lens for the lens of the day. ;)

    • Frugal Bride profile image

      Frugal Bride 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your story! I could really feel the emotions.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Congrats on LOD :) Great and really interesting lens.

    • Jhangora LM profile image

      Jhangora LM 6 years ago

      Congrats on being chosen for LOTD!!! Good Job.

    • DecoratingEvents profile image

      DecoratingEvents 6 years ago

      Very nice lens and a wonderful tribute. Congratulations on your LotD.

    • Lynne-Modranski profile image

      Lynne Modranski 6 years ago from Ohio

      Very nicely done! Congrats on LOTD!!!

    • MassmannPLUS profile image

      MassmannPLUS 6 years ago

      Nice lens! Congrats on LOD!

    • profile image

      ideadesigns 6 years ago

      Congrats! Our elementary school had a veterans program that I was so proud of. I brought my dad along, he and all the vets were honored. He was armed forces. It made them all feel special because they are! Great lens very honoring looks like a special event you had.

    • profile image

      NetBookBoo 6 years ago

      Very nice blog about VIETNAM WAR

    • profile image

      DebMartin 6 years ago

      Nice lens. Well done. Although I must say I don't know about Texas, but here in Michigan my experience is that our children are still learning about veterans and honoring.

    • Airinka profile image

      Airinka 6 years ago

      congratulations on lotd

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

      We will never forget those who serve and die for our freedoms. I have plans to visit the wall in DC, but if the traveling wall comes to my area I will surely try to visit it as well. Congrats on LOTD for this tribute lens.

    • dryder profile image

      dryder 6 years ago

      Fantastic tribute! Congrats on making LOTD!

    • profile image

      Oosquid 6 years ago

      Heroes deserve honor. We all owe them so much.

    • SheilaVine LM profile image

      SheilaVine LM 6 years ago

      Sending love to our heroes wherever they are

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 6 years ago

      This one of the best LOTD's I have ever read. Congratulations and I love your style. Blessed by an Angel.

    • profile image

      MathGenius 6 years ago

      Congrats! You are now the LotD!

    • profile image

      sushilpok 6 years ago

      a great work and good result for u. congrats for lens of the day

    • Senora M profile image

      Senora M 6 years ago

      Congrats on the Lens of the Day!!! Great lens!

    • CastleRoyLisa profile image

      Lisa 6 years ago from Rhode Island

      congratulations on LOD well deserved wonderful lens

    • profile image

      kt_glasses 6 years ago

      awesome lens! Congratulations on LOTD.

    • KokoTravel profile image

      KokoTravel 6 years ago

      From their sacrifices come our freedoms... honored and respected for their service!

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 6 years ago

      I have not heard of this before. Thanks for sharing.

    • DRomaxx profile image

      Diana Romaxx 6 years ago from Chicago

      Great Lens! Congratulations on LOTD.

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 6 years ago from California

      Congratulations on LOTD...this is an excellent lens. I went to the Wall in DC but have missed the traveling one.

    • stephenteacher profile image

      Stephen Carr 6 years ago from Corona, CA

      Nice lens! The Traveling Wall is a great tribute and reminder.

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 6 years ago

      This is a great 'Veteran's' lens, I really enjoyed reading it, and as a veteran, I would like to say bravo! See you around the galaxy...

    • journey103 profile image

      journey103 6 years ago from USA

      Wonderful lens and an amazing tribute. Congrats!

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 6 years ago from Idaho

      God Bless them all!

      Congrats on LOTD, well deserved!

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 6 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Wow, what a great lens, truly worthy of your LotD - Congrats!

    • profile image

      AdriennePetersen 6 years ago

      Important lens! Congrats on LOTD, well deserved.

    • Violin-Student profile image

      Violin-Student 6 years ago

      Good lens. Great topic. Thanks to all who served! Congrats on LOTD!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 6 years ago from USA

      Congrats on LotD! I've seen the wall too and it is a very sobering experience.

    • capriliz lm profile image

      capriliz lm 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens! Thank you to each and every veteran who has served for our country. And a special thanks to their families.

      Congratulations on LOTD.

    • reflectionhaiku profile image

      reflectionhaiku 6 years ago

      Salute to our nation's heros and congrats on LotD!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      What a lovely lens. My dad passed in 2000 but was in the Air Force for 20 years and served in Vietnam. I am blessed he came home safe but have a special place in my heart for ALL veterans and troops. May God bless them all. Always. I wish I could thank them all personally for the freedoms they give to us.

    • kimmie1967 profile image

      kimmie1967 6 years ago

      What a wonderful Lens. And what a wonderful idea to have a Traveling Wall. I was not even aware that this existed. Would love to have it come to my town. I know I will never make it to see the real one in Washington D.C. so that would be a real privilege. I too had tears in my eyes as I read this Lens. Thank you for putting this Lens together, and Congratulations on LOTD.

    • nebby profile image

      nebby 6 years ago from USA

      A beautiful and loving tribute to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

      Although I can totally against any war and believe that it has never solved anything - I will always stand behind and support our veterans.

      Congratulations on LOTD :)

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Beautiful Patriotic Lens and tribute to our Veterans. congrats on a well deserved LOTD

    • profile image

      jocondrill 6 years ago

      Thank you so much for sharing. Just reading your words and looking at the pictures brought tears to my eyes. You see, I have "walked the wall," that is the path beneath it in Washington, DC, when there were many notes and flowers left there by relatives and visitors. I brought a reluctant Vietnam Vet with me. It was an awful experience for him. He knew so many whose names are on the wall. He went back one time and said, "Never again." Never forget.

    • profile image

      happynutritionist 6 years ago

      A wonderful tribute to our Veterans, yes, please, God Bless America. Congrats on receiving LOTD

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This lens is beautiful!!!

      I love it.Great job.

    • spritequeen lm profile image

      spritequeen lm 6 years ago

      Absolutely beautiful!! Thanks so much for sharing! GREAT lens!

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 6 years ago

      Beautiful tribute...just beautiful. I have tears in my eyes just reading it.

    • puzzlerpaige profile image

      puzzlerpaige 6 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your experience. Perfect LOTD and Congrats!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Reading this lens was an enjoyable experience. You were lucky to get a first hand experience in the convoy. Salutations to the soldiers who fought for the country.

      Congrats on LOTD- well deserved.

    • profile image

      Gail47 6 years ago

      I was blessed to see both the wall in Washington, D.C. and the traveling wall when it came to Michigan. They were both very touching. Thank you for this lens as a reminder of all those who lost their lives so that we could remain free. The names of two guys from my small hometown are on that wall, and it is good for us to be reminded of all they gave up. Angel blessed today!

    • Coffeebreak9am profile image

      Coffeebreak9am 6 years ago

      Wow This is really a work of Art!! What a great tribute! Thanks to our troops!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      Beautiful lens, and a most fitting choice on Veteran's Day. God Bless America!

    • BuildingBlockToys profile image

      BuildingBlockToys 6 years ago

      Congratulations on winning Lens of the Day!

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 6 years ago

      Another angel blessing for a great tribute. Congrats!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great choice for LOTD on Veteran's Day. Thanks for creating this tribue, Squid Angel blessed.

    • lankanwriter profile image

      lankanwriter 6 years ago

      What a beautiful lens, I'm from Sri Lanka where we fought a war with terrorists for more than twenty years. The war is over now but still there are lots of soldiers that are disabled and you have to listen to them to appreciate what they have done for us. Charging towards an enemy line when the whole area is full of mines and flying bullets is something I cant even comprehend, yet they have done it, FOR US.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      God bless our troops - thank you to all military personnel - past, present and future. Great lens!

    • profile image

      jgelien 6 years ago

      This lens is an amazing tribute to those who paid the ultimate price for their country. We must never forget our fallen heroes.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      Beautiful tribute, thumbs up1

    • profile image

      SofiaMann 6 years ago

      Nice lens.Congratulations on LOTD.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Congratulations on your Lens of the Day, most fitting! - Kathy

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image

      VarietyWriter2 6 years ago

      Very cool lens. Congrats on your LOTD!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wow. Being a Kiwi Veterans Day doesnt have quite the same meaning for me, but that doesnt make the overall point any less poignant. We observe Anzac Day back in NZ for the same reason: to honor those that have fought to give us the life we have today. Every day should be Veterans Day, and while we remember the ones gone before, we must give thought to those fighting to preserve what we have also i.e. the brave women and men stationed overseas today. Great lens, and definitely worthy of LotD. Congratulations, and thanks for reminding us how lucky we are to be alive today

    • dustytoes profile image

      dustytoes 6 years ago

      God bless them all and their families. We owe them so much. This is a touching story I am glad you have shared. Congrats to you on receiving LotD!

    • SunnyDaze LM profile image

      SunnyDaze LM 6 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD. Veteran's Day is so important to us as Americans because freedom doesn't come free.

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 6 years ago

      Happy Veterans Day - a well deserved LOTD.

    • ClinicallySigni profile image

      ClinicallySigni 6 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD and what a great lens, memorial and DAY to honor our veterans and heroes!

    • modz profile image

      modz 6 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD!

    • newbizmau profile image

      Guided Abundance 6 years ago from Mobile, AL

      I went to our local Veterans Day Parade today here in Mobile, AL. Great Lens. Congrats on LOTD!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 6 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! My husband participated in 4 events to today, and a great day it was...Thank You all who served and gave us Freedom.

    • profile image

      JennySui 6 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD!

    • profile image

      milleetary 6 years ago

      "All gave some, and some gave all" Great hub, we should always remember those who have fought, and those who are continuing to fight to this day.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 6 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      congrats on LOTD!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Congrats on your LOTD and thanks for putting together such an important lens!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 6 years ago

      Nice lens! Everyone should experience seeing the Traveling Wall, just to see so many names is heart wrenching...my husband a Vietnam Vet was involved in getting the traveling Wall to our city. We also have seen some in different states

    • kerbev profile image

      kab 7 years ago from Upstate, NY

      The Traveling Wall sounds like an important experience for all involved.

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 8 years ago from Idaho

      This is a beautiful lens, it is so important not to forget those that have fought and sacrificed for our country. It brought tears to my eyes to read about your Uncle Shorty Crawford, that he served with my father in World War II! I called my mom too to let her know. How special is that to know that they both fought for our country together! Thanks for sharing that with me! :-) Lensrolling this and your other lens to mine too! Take care, Linda