VALLEY CENTER — A half-size replica of the Washington, D.C. Vietnam Veterans Memorial will be displayed here Oct. 21-25. There is no charge to visit The Moving Wall, which will be open 24 hours each day.
The wall was displayed here in 2012, but local organizers felt it didn’t get the attention it deserved. This time, “We have about half the city involved helping us with whatever we need,” said Ronald Colbert, chair of the local memorial committee.
Plans call for the Patriot Guard of the American Legion Motorcycle Corps and Valley Center police to escort the caravan transporting the wall from Interstate 135 west along 85th Street to Meridian in Valley Center, arriving about 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 21. The parade will continue south on Clay Street before turning east to the Community Center where the wall will be assembled by personnel from McConnell Air Force Base.
The wall will open to visitors at 1 p.m. on Oct. 21. Parking will be at the Intermediate School on North Meridian and busses will take visitors to the wall. Paper and chalk for rubbings will be available, and volunteers and heath care aides will staff the wall. Walkers and wheelchairs will be provided.
The wall chronologically lists the names of more than 58,000 Americans who gave their lives in service during the Vietnam War, including 626 from Kansas. One person listed, Staff Sergeant Billie Joe Wilson, was from Valley Center and 89 were from Wichita. Eight women are listed, all of whom were nurses.
A military flyover and a speech by Sen. Jerry Moran will take place at a formal opening ceremony for the memorial at 10 a.m. on Oct. 22. Another flyover and a ceremony honoring American POWs and MIAs is scheduled for Oct. 23, to be followed by a brief closing ceremony Oct. 25.
Architect Maya Lin’s design for the memorial in Washington was originally as controversial as the war it commemorated, but it’s now visited by over one million people annually and is considered architecturally significant.
A group of veterans built a mobile version of the memorial and displayed it for the first time in 1984. Today, two versions the memorial travel throughout the United States from April through November, according to themovingwall.org.