Few memorials are as moving as those devoted to the men and women who have selflessly served our country in the military. Dedicated in Washington, D.C., on Veterans Day of 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is composed of two 200-foot long dark granite walls inscribed with the names of more than 58,000 Americans who died in the Vietnam War or remain missing. Nearly 5 million people visit the unique Memorial every year in the nation’s capital.
A half-size replica of the Memorial has been touring the United States since 1984, providing an opportunity for those who can’t visit the east coast to experience a smaller version of it. The last time the mobile structure visited south central Kansas was in 2012, when it was temporarily located in Lions Park in Valley Center, Kan. The five-day event drew between 1,000 and 2,000 visitors daily to honor Vietnam veterans and reflect on the war.
Known as The Moving Wall, the mobile memorial returns to Valley Center this year where visitors can view it from Oct. 22 through 25. The exhibit is expected to draw large crowds and will be open 24 hours per day.
United Way of the Plains Volunteer Center Manager Becky Springer estimates 150 community volunteers will be needed to set up the area, escort volunteers and greet tour groups. Springer says she’s heard from a variety of people and organizations who want to be part of this experience. “So many people are moved by this Memorial. It was visited around-the-clock the last time it was here. There are four hospitality shifts per day for volunteers so that we can ensure that Memorial visitors have a chance to spend as much time as they need honoring those who served.”
Check the United Way of the Plains Volunteer Center and sign up to serve.
Follow the progress of the project on the Valley Center Moving Wall social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.