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Moving Wall to Visit in August
Friday, 04 July 2014

July 4-- The Moving Wall, the nation’s original traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial, will be in Dublin, Georgia at the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in August. 

This honored visit is sponsored by The Laurens County Historical Society; a non-profit organization and the committee is comprised of veterans and other community individuals whose mission is to honor and respect our fallen American soldiers and our living veterans.

Mayor Phil Best said, “We are honored that The Moving Wall will visit our community and appreciate the generous efforts of the committee in bringing this very special experience to Dublin.  The memorial helps to bring healing to veterans and families and friends of those who died or are missing in Vietnam, especially those who may not have the opportunity to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.”

“We strive to educate the community on the price veterans paid for us and the respect they deserve from us,” said Johnny Payne, Chairman of The Committee for The Vietnam Moving Wall in Dublin, Georgia. 

“Visitors to The Moving Wall are moved beyond words,” Payne continued.   “The Moving Wall allows people to experience the memorial, to reach out and touch the name of someone they lost.  Visiting the wall is a very emotional experience, even for people who don’t personally know someone who died in Vietnam.  The Vietnam War touched us all in some way, and The Moving Wall gives us a chance to say thank you to those who gave their lives to that war effort.”

Dr. Stephen Svonavec treasure of the committee and Dublin campus director at Middle Georgia State College, said they’ve been working on this since the “Welcome Home for Vietnam Veterans.” That committee to have the “Moving Wall” part of that ceremony.

“That committee has been doing the ground work for this,” Svonavec said. “There is a long waiting list for it.  There happened to be an opening in Augusta and we were very happy to take advantage of that opening.”

Svonavec has not been able to go to the wall in Washington, D. C. This is a chance to bring a smaller version of it to this area.

“This will be an opportunity for everyone and the veterans who have not had a chance to go up there,”  he said.

In 1982, John Devitt, a former helicopter door gunner and Army veteran, visited Washington, DC for the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and to participate in the National Salute to Vietnam Veterans.  This visit and experience changed Devitt's life and led to the creation of the "Moving Wall," which has since moved millions of people.  Devitt, Chairman/Founder of The Moving Wall and the Vietnam Combat Veterans, Ltd., wanted to capture the spirit he felt at the Washington, D.C. memorial and share it with people who couldn’t’ travel there to see the monument.  In 1983, he and some friends spent 22 months and about $28,000 in donations to build his original Plexiglas replica of the memorial. Today the wall tours the country every year.  The Moving Wall measures 250 feet long, 4 feet tall at each end and 6 feet tall in the center.  The replica is now constructed of aluminum with the 58,245 names of the American dead in Vietnam silk-screened upon black panels. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial cost approximately $60,000, and all money to create the memorial was donated.

The Moving Wall visits between 22 and 28 cities in the United States each year and 75,000 to 100,000 people come out to see the memorial during their weeklong appearances at each spot.  The Moving Wall has been displayed from Hawaii to Alaska and in every state across the entire continental United States as well as Canada. There is no admission fee charged to visit The Moving Wall.

“Many of  those who visit The Moving Wall leave flowers, notes, medals, photographs and other loving mementos at the memorial,” said Payne. “All items left there will be collected on the last day of the display, marked and boxed and then shipped to the Vietnam Combat Veterans, Ltd. office for storage in their warehouse.”

When The Moving Wall has fulfilled its need, a museum will be constructed whereby The Moving Wall and all artifacts collected over the years will be displayed in glass cases below the flags of each state the memorial has visited.”

Those who come to The Moving Wall while it is in Dublin will be looking for one or a few very special names. Trained volunteers will be on the site to help people identify the location of the names they seek.

The Moving Wall will be open to the public, 24 hours a day, from setup on August 14th until late afternoon on August 17th.

Those who want to be a volunteer or make contributions for this event should contact Johnny Payne at (478) 689-5035 or via email at jlpayne9@bellsouth.net

 “We still have a long ways to go to get sufficient funds to make this a proper successful experience,” Svonavec said. “We are working on fundraising plans and donations of time from volunteers from the people in Laurens County and other counties in the Middle Georgia area.”

 

 
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