Forty years following the end of the Vietnam War, a group of individuals from Pacific, Union and Washington have come together to bring The Vietnam Moving Wall to Washington.
The group, Friends of Vietnam Veterans, started meeting in September 2012 to plan the five-day event.
The wall will be open for viewing Sept. 19-23 at the Washington Fairgrounds.
“Many folks are familiar with the Vietnam Memorial located at our nation’s capital in Washington, D.C.,” said Terry Sullentrup, one of the event chairmen, “but very few Vietnam veterans have had the opportunity to actually travel to D.C. and visit the wall. This will give our local veterans, the public and our schoolchildren the opportunity to see a half scale replica of the Vietnam Memorial.”
The Moving Wall will be available for viewing beginning at noon Thursday, Sept. 19. The opening ceremony will take place on Thursday evening at 6 p.m.
The wall will remain open 24 hours per day until the closing the ceremony, scheduled for Monday, Sept. 23, at 1 p.m.
There is no cost to view the wall. It will be an outdoor event and will be handicapped accessible.
“This will be a very special event intended to provide possible healing for all Vietnam Veterans, especially those who lost friends/buddies while serving together in Vietnam,” Sullentrup said. “Additionally, the memorial will serve as a reminder to everyone the supreme sacrifices that were made by our U.S. military personnel.”
Sullentrup said the group also hopes to provide middle and high school students with valuable information about the Vietnam War.
The Friends of Vietnam veterans is seeking contributors and sponsors to help defray the cost of the event, which is estimated to be more than $30,000.
Tax-deductible contributions may be mailed to Friends of Vietnam Veterans, P.O. Box 1225, Washington, MO 63090.
Volunteers also are needed to help with parking, greeting visitors, and to help locate names on the wall, as well as with information/reception, escorts, service helpers, food service and refreshments.
For more information or to volunteer, people may call 800-936-5561.
There will be a meeting for volunteers Wednesday, Aug. 28, at 7 p.m at VFW Post 2661, 813 S. Jefferson St.
The meeting is for those who have already signed up as well as anyone interested in becoming a volunteer.
About the Wall
Silk screening was used to replicate the names on the wall, making each name as legible as it is on the memorial in Washington, D.C.
Washington will be the structure’s 1,305th destination.
There are 58,282 names listed on the memorial.
The wall contains the names of 20 local service members from the area. They were from Gerald, Marthasville, New Haven, Owensville, Pacific, St. Clair, Sullivan, Union and Washington.