The Vietnam War Memorial Moving Wall will be available to visitors Oct. 11-15. The wall is a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Just like its larger inspiration, the names of 57,939 service men and women killed in the war are engraved in granite. The visit is sponsored by Walters State Community College, Lowe’s and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1073 with support from other veterans groups.
“This will be a place of reflection and, hopefully, Vietnam veterans in this area will find some healing. Finding a name of a fallen friend is one way to honor that friend and those we lost in Vietnam,” said Kathleen Van Orsdel, who did not get called to Vietnam but served as a teletype machine operator stateside during the war. Her husband, Don, served two tours in Vietnam.
Opening ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. on Oct. 11 and feature Capt. Bill Robinson, retired from the U.S. Air Force) Robinson’s helicopter was shot down on Sept. 20, 1965, and he was captured. He was held for 7 years in the infamous Hanoi Hilton, becoming the longest held enlisted POW in history.
The ceremony will also feature the reading of the 1,295 names of Tennesseans engraved on the wall.
The closing ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. on Oct. 14 and will feature U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st and veteran.
The wall will be open 24 hours a day from the opening ceremony to the closing ceremony. Volunteers are needed to stay at the facility and help visitors locate names. Volunteers are also needed for daily readings of the names of Tennesseans killed in Vietnam.
The group has recruited several chaplains but more are needed to be available should veterans need their services while visiting the moving wall.
A training sessions was held Saturday, Sept. 9, and another is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6. Those wishing to volunteer should meet in front of the R. Jack Fishman Library on the college campus.