The Mobile Vietnam wall brought memories, tears, and honor for local veterans over the weekend as “The Wall that Heals” took prominence at the Willows Memorial Park.
Just after 10:00 AM on Wednesday, February 24, 2016, the wall accompanied by the rumble and roar of a 100+ motorcycle escort traveled through the communities of Arbuckle, Williams, Maxwell and Delavan with flag-waving community members and school children lined along the Historic Route HWY 99.
“The coordinators who brought the wall to willows commented that when they brought the wall up from Dunnigan, they haven’t experienced, in a long time, that kind of supportive reception along the road with all of the children, fire departments, and veterans,” said Colusa VFW Post 2441 Commander, Bill Tanner, “they just never see that as they are usually on the freeway heading to a bigger town. They were quite impressed with how our county has done to get this here for this weekend.”
The event was hosted by the Glenn County Veterans on Thursday, the Butte County Veterans hosted Friday, and the Colusa County Veterans hosted Saturday, and the Tehama County Veterans Sunday.
The wall was available to the public around the clock, and thousands came to pay tribute and honor the names inscribed on the wall, a total of 57,939.
During opening ceremonies of the four days, each veteran service organization read aloud the names of those listed on the wall from their communities.
Members of the Colusa County VFW and Maxwell American Legion paid special tribute to the eight men who served and sacrificed their lives in the Vietnam War. Their names read aloud followed by the ringing of the bell.
Those honored Saturday were: William Luther Denman, Michael Alan Pogue, Francisco Xaiver Licea, Frank Allen Baggett, Monroe Ward Cross, Robert J. Lorenzo, Kraig Colt Bullis Sr., and David Allen Madden.
Also during the opening ceremony, the Colusa County VFW and Maxwell American Legion Members honored with the symbolic placing of the wreath, as well as the flag raising ceremony joined by the flyover of the UH-1H Huey provided by the 25th Infantry Division LLC with Colusa County Veterans Alex Jauregui and George Jimenez.
The opening ceremony concluded with American Legion Auxiliary District 4 President Barbara LaDoucer, and Lori Dowden, District Secretary presenting a certificate of recognition to Tim Tetz and Patrick O’Neill of the Vietnam Veterans Wall Fund.
“These fine gentlemen did an outstanding job bringing this wall here for our veterans and their families so they can heal, so we felt they should be recognized for this,” said LaDoucher
“Without them this community would not be able to heal for their veterans, and we thank you so very much.”
Visitors were given the chance to browse the wall, and search for the names of loved ones. Some left flowers while others read the names in silence.
In addition to the Wall, the exterior sides of the trailer that transports ‘The Wall That Heals’ opens to become a mobile education Center. Here visitors see a display of photographs of those listed on the wall, along with letters and memorabilia left at The Wall in D.C. The exhibit also features a map of Vietnam and a chronological overview of the conflict.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the most visited memorial in our Nation’s Capital, with more than four million visitors each year. However, many Americans have not been able to visit what has become known to many as “The Wall.” The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF), the organization that built The Wall, wants to give all veterans and their family members all across America an opportunity to see the Memorial.
“Taking The Wall That Heals on the road gives thousands more veterans and their family members an opportunity to see The Wall and honor those who have served and sacrificed so much,” said Jim Knotts, CEO of VVMF. “It helps veterans from all of America’s conflicts to find healing and a powerful connection through their common military experiences.”
Since its debut in 1996, more than two million people have visited The Wall That Heals sites. It has made stops in nearly 400 U.S. communities in addition to an April 1999 tour of the Four Provinces of Ireland and a visit to Canada in 2005.
‘The Wall That Heals’ was packed up Sunday afternoon and continued its Journey to Venice, California for an appearance on March 3, through March 6, 2016; then the wall will travel to the City of Gonzales, Texas for an appearance on March 23, through March 26, 2016.
For information about ‘The Wall that Heals’ visit: http://www.vvmf.org/