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“Moving Wall” coming to Rugby

By Staff | Jul 22, 2011

The Moving Wall is coming to Rugby on Thursday, Aug. 4 to Monday, Aug. 8, and will be displayed at the Rugby High School baseball field at 1500 Main Ave. S.

The Moving Wall is the only replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. (others are replicas of the replica). It is being brought here by The American Legion Clarence Larson Post #23, Rugby, for area residents to show honor and respect to those who gave their lives in the Vietnam War.

An opening ceremony will be held on Thursday, August 4 at 7 pm at the RHS baseball field. The Wall will be open to view after that. Attendants will be there twenty-four hours each day.

A candlelight ceremony will be held on Saturday, August 6 at 8 p.m. at the baseball field near The Moving Wall. A closing ceremony on Sunday, August 7 will be held at 8 p.m. The Wall will be gone on Monday afternoon, August 8.

For some, this may be the only opportunity they will have to see this special memorial.

The idea of a national Vietnam Veterans Memorial began with Dr. Victor Westphall of Angel Fire, NM who was constructing a memorial in Angel Fire in memory of his son and those who died with him. Jan Scruggs came up with the idea of having a Vietnam Veterans Memorial located in Washington, DC. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund was incorporated on April 27, 1979 in Washington, DC by a group of Vietnam veterans. Scruggs along with Robert Doubek and John Wheeler lobbied Congress for a two-acre plot of land in Constitution Gardens. Senators Charles Mathias, Jr., Maryland and John Warner, Virginia supported the project from the beginning. President Jimmy Carter signed the legislation to provide a site in Constitution Gardens near the Lincoln Memorial.

The Memorial wall was designed by Maya Ying Lin and was dedicated on November 13, 1982. The sculpture created by Frederick Hart called “the Three Servicemen” was unveiled on November 8, 1984 at which time control of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was turned over to the National Park Service. In 1986, Vietnam veteran nurse Diane Evans began the task of adding a statue to the site, recognizing the women who served in Vietnam. The statue, sculpted by Glenna Goodacre, was dedicated on November 11, 1993.

The idea of the Moving Wall was the brainchild of three vietnam veterans form California, John Devitt, Gerry Haver and Norris Shears. Devitt had experienced something good when he had attended the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC and wanted to somehow bring that experience to California. Another veteran liked the idea but suggested that it be portable. This traveling memorial was later called “The Moving Wall” by Micki Voisard, St. Helena, California, who is a member of Vietnam Combat Veterans, Ltd. The Moving Wall became its official name.

Haver, Shears and Devitt did the actual construction and silk screening of all the names. The Moving Wall which was begun in February, 1983 was completed in October of 1984. On October 15, 1984, was erected in Tyler, Texas. It has been displayed in 1,235 communities as of January 1, 2011. Haver, Shears, and Devitt, provided the start up money and donations from the public supported the project. Devitt continues to drive the truck carrying The Moving Wall to communities across the United States. A simple man, who is happy if he is fed and has a roof over his head, Devitt has made the memorial his life’s work.

All are welcome to come and view the wall. Guides will be available to help families and friends find the names of their loved ones on the wall.

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