The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall is returning to Springfield and will be escorted into town by a procession of hundreds of bikers and the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Wednesday.
The wall will be on display Thursday through Sunday at Post 639, 2660 S. Scenic Ave. It is a replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., with 58,272 names. The wall is an effort by a nonprofit organization in Florida called the Vietnam and All Veterans of Brevard (VVB). According to the organization’s website, www.travelingwall.us, the traveling wall is 6 feet tall and almost 300 feet wide (60 percent of the size of the original).
According to ceremony coordinator Larry Tuck, bikers will leave the Post at 8 a.m. Wednesday, headed for Thayer where they’ll meet more bikers and the traveling wall. The procession will leave Thayer around noon, headed back for Springfield.
“We have heard from groups in West Plains, Willow Springs, Mountain View, Norwood, along the route that say they are going to be out there at the overpasses holding flags and cheering us on,” Tuck said. “It should be a very good procession.”
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The procession will arrive in Springfield about 3-3:30 p.m. Wednesday, traveling on U.S. Route 60 to State Highway FF. From FF, they will travel north to Battlefield Road and then east to Scenic Avenue.
Because groups of bikers will be joining the procession throughout the ride, Tuck said he expects around 200 bikers by the time they get to Springfield.
The traveling Vietnam Museum will arrive at Post 639 separately and be set up through the weekend.
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Volunteers from Post 639 will assemble the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall on Thursday morning.
The wall last came to Post 639 five years ago.
The opening ceremony will be at 6 p.m. Friday. Colors will be presented by the Ozark Junior ROTC. The closing ceremony will be Sunday.
The weekend’s events are open to the public. Food and drinks will be available at the Post.
“For those who cannot make the trip to D.C. to see the actual wall, this gives them a chance to see and remember and connect with the people they served with,” Tuck said.
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