By Stephanie Thompson

Vietnam memorial wall arrives


August 22, 2019

The Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall Memorial is once again visiting Sweetwater County.

Residents and travelers driving along Interstate 80 will have the chance to visit the memorial wall at Western Wyoming Community College’s Rock Springs campus starting today.

Tony Blair, moving wall memorial coordinator, said the American Legion is celebrating its 100th anniversary and he was asked if he could bring the moving wall back to Sweetwater County. Blair had coordinated bringing the moving wall to the area in 2015. Blair said he could do it, but he needed at least a one and a half years notice to get everything lined up.

The wall is being brought to the county by the American Legion Archie Hay Post 24, Tom Whitmore Post 28 and VFW Post No. 2321.

According to a brochure, the moving wall is a half-sized replica of the Washington, D.C. Vietnam Veterans Memorial and has been touring the county for about 30 years. The wall was formed after John Devitt attended the 1982 dedication in Washington. He vowed to share the experience with those who don’t have the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. Devitt, Norris Shears, Gerry Haver and other Vietnam veteran volunteers built The Moving Wall. It want on display for the first time in Tyler, Texas in October of 1984. Two moving wall structures travel throughout the country from April to November.

As of 2014, 58,299 names are listed on the memorial and about 1,300 of those are unaccounted for prisoners of war and those missing in action.

Blair said the wall had an escort from Green River to Rock Springs Thursday morning, then was set up and available for tours about two hours later. The wall is open to visitors all day and night until Sunday.

“This whole venue is free,” Blair said. “There is no cost. No one is to make a dime off of the veterans.”

On Sunday morning, a service honoring those who sacrificed their lives will take place at the wall at 9 a.m. The service will include the playing of taps, a 21-gun salute, color guard and honor guard ceremonies and guest speakers. The last time the wall was in town, about 5,000 people from all over the country signed the guest book. Blair anticipates an even bigger turnout, saying he’s not sure when they’ll ever bring it back. Residents can do etching and rubbings at the wall. Those who are looking for a certain name can check in at the tent and they will be told which panel, out of 75 panels, the name should be on.

Blair said this is a great opportunity for those who want to see a half-size replica of the wall. He said not everyone can afford a trip to Washington, D.C., to see the actual wall.

“Come out and see it,” Blair said.


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