My first topic for my very first local access show was the Traveling Vietnam Wall. I was somewhat nervous at first, when the camera was on me alone. But once we got started, I really had a good time. My guests were Larry Melton of Klaehn, Fall, and Melton Funeral Homes; Tom Pehlke of Lindenwood Cemetery; and Larry Thiele, a Vietnam veteran who is also American Legion 4th District Etiquette chairman. All three were great, and they made the time go quickly.
Mr. Melton and Mr. Pehlke are affiliated with Dignity Memorial, the sponsor of the Traveling Wall. Mr. Thiele is a Vietnam veteran who served two tours of duty in country from 1966 – 1969. The Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall will be here this August 10 through August 12 at the Highland Park Cemetery located at 2403 E. Wallen Road. The Wall was last here in 2001 at the same location.
The Traveling Wall is a way that those who are unable to travel to Washington, D. C. to see the Wall can share in a powerful experience. The replica is a 240-foot, 3/4-scale of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in D.C. inscribed with the thousands of names of those who gave their lives in the Vietnam War.
The schedule for the ceremonies and the visiting are as follows:
August 7 – Tuesday – Motorcycle Escort at 1:00 p.m. forming at the WWII Victory Museum in Auburn, IN (The escort and the Wall will arrive at Highland Park Cemetery at 2:00 p.m.)
August 8 – Wednesday – Placing of Purple Heart (private ceremony) – installation of Wall
August 9 – Thursday – Landscaping and finishing touches
August 10 – Friday – Opening ceremonies at 6:15 p.m. hosted by Keith Edwards of WPTA. The ceremonies will include a flyover by Fort Wayne Air National Guard, Fort Wayne City Police Honor Guard Ceremonies, and a Mayoral Proclamatiom.
August 11 – Saturday – POW/MIA Ceremony at 9:00 a.m. The POW/MIA Ceremony with balloon release will be held as well as a Native American Veterans Ceremony.
August 12 – Sunday – Closing Ceremony at 4:00 p.m. Linda Bloom, County Commissioner, will speak.
The Wall will be open 24 hours a day to accommodate any and all who want to visit and share. Volunteers will provide assistance to those searching for names. Volunteers are still needed, so if you would like to be a part of this memorable and moving experience, please call : 260-432-3914. Readers will take turns reading all 58,178 names during the three days.
The picture above is from my first trip to the Wall last September.