Our community has a rare opportunity to pay tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the Vietnam War this week.

The Moving Wall, a half scale, traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be on display at the Washington Fairgrounds Thursday, Sept. 19, through Monday, Sept. 23.

Anyone who has visited The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., can attest to its power and significance. Inscribed on the black granite walls are the names of more than 58,000 men and women who gave their lives or remain missing in the longest war in U.S. history.

Reading the names on the wall is an emotional and moving experience that is unforgettable.

But not everyone has the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., to experience the memorial. The Moving Wall was created to solve that problem.

It was first displayed in 1984 and has since traveled to thousands of towns across the country. It has been a source of healing and inspiration for millions of Americans who have experienced it in their home towns.

Those who have experienced the 250-foot-long replica say it is just as compelling as the Vietnam War Memorial in our nation’s capital, which is why a group of local veterans and individuals from Pacific, Union and Washington have come together to bring The Vietnam Moving Wall to this area. They have been working for over a year planning the five-day event that begins Thursday.

The Moving Wall will be available for viewing beginning at noon Thursday. 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 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.

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.

The Moving Wall is a tribute to the dead and missing veterans of an unpopular and divisive war. It is a way for people to show their appreciation, respect and admiration for these and all veterans who answered their country’s call of duty in a difficult war in a far-away place. Their service is worth honoring and remembering.

Don’t miss this event.