Coincidence or Something Bigger? Paying Respects at the Vietnam Wall of Southwest Florida in Punta Gorda

The Vietnam Wall of Southwest Florida in Punta Goda, Fla., was dedicated on Nov. 5, 2016.
The Vietnam Wall of Southwest Florida in Punta Goda, Fla., was dedicated on Nov. 5, 2016.
The Vietnam Wall of Southwest Florida in Punta Goda, Fla., was dedicated on Nov. 5, 2016.

Today was the dedication of the Vietnam Wall of Southwest Florida in Punta Gorda, a replica half the size of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. and I had a random encounter that has me wondering whether it was coincidence or something bigger.

Volunteering for the Vietnam Wall of Southwest Florida

My boss from the day job coordinated the memorial walk prior leading up to the dedication which included finding names of 200 service members on the Wall then printing those names out on cards. These were then handed out anyone interested in walking and saying the service member’s name once reaching the Wall.

Dedication of the Vietnam Wall of Southwest Florida, Punta Gorda, Fla., Nov. 5, 2016.
Dedication of the Vietnam Wall of Southwest Florida, Punta Gorda, Fla., Nov. 5, 2016.

Chance Encounter?
When I first arrived, she handed me a card and as the walk began, I hung back so she could lead it and I could distribute the remaining cards. As I reached the wall, a couple asked if they could read a name and I handed them my last cards which included the original one my boss handed me.

I gave it to the woman, she looked at it, handed it to her male companion who is a veteran of the Vietnam War and asked, “Isn’t this your friend?”

He looked at it, paused, and said “Yes!”

They were speechless and the crybaby in me teared up as goosebumps raced across my body. I had an urge to hug them both but rubbed his arm in a comforting way (at least I hope it was comforting and not creepy!)

The woman then looked around and asked me, “Are you a real person?”

I simply smiled and said, “Yes.”

This is the Card I Gave the Vietnam War Veteran That Has His Friend On It. Coincidence or Something Bigger?
This is the Card I Gave the Vietnam War Veteran That Has His Friend On It. Coincidence or Something Bigger?

Serendipity? 
There are more than 58,000 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and only 200 were randomly pulled for today’s dedication. What are the chances that a Vietnam War Veteran would receive the card containing the name of his friend? Was there divine intervention and a specific reason that gentleman was meant to have that card? Maybe, there a reason I was supposed to meet him? Or, was it pure coincidence?

I’m heading to a blogging conference and since it’s about 15 hours in the car, I purchased audiobooks, The Law of Attraction CD collection to be exact, to make use of my idle time. What I’m learning, or re-learning, is everything has a reason and purpose in our life, although we may not know at the time what that reason or purpose is.

A Sign with a Sign to Follow That Dream?
A Sign with a Sign to Follow That Dream?

A Sign with a Sign?
While listening to the teachings I was stopped at red light and noticed the I was at the cross roads of U.S. Route 98 and Follow That Dream Parkway. Yes. For real. The green and white street sign read, “Follow That Dream Pkwy.”

Is the Universe trying to tell me something today??? Perhaps I shouldn’t over-analyze and simply enjoy the serendipity of life and work on keeping an open awareness to lead me where I need to be.

View additional photos from the dedication of the Vietnam Wall of Southwest Florida on my Flickr stream. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links in order to support this website and my traveling habit.

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Jenn

Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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