Vietnam Wall war memorial replica arrives in Palm Springs
Veterans group and police give traveling memorial ceremonial welcome
The biggest replica of the Vietnam War Memorial deserves an escort worthy of the veterans on its walls.
So, the Iron Horse Motorcycle Riding Club joined forces with the Palm Springs Police Department to do just that.
The wall travels to more than 50 locations a year. Bringing an important reminder many people would never get to experience firsthand.
John Barron is the Director of Operations with the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, he tells us, "There are a lot of veterans around the country, veterans and their families that will never get to go to Washington to see the memorials there. And so our honor and privilege is to bring the traveling wall to them, to their local communities."
The wall is 80 percent the size of the original, but still stands an impressive 360 feet long, 8 and a half feet tall at its peak, and weights more than 7,000 pounds.
Most important of all, it has every single one of the more than 58,000 names inscribed on the original, all available to find and touch.
"It doesn't do any good if you can't touch the wall,” Barron says. “If you can’t etch the name off of it, and that all helps with the healing process."
The Iron Horse Marines Riding Club, which includes several Vietnam veterans, is honored to be able to lead the memorial into town, all the way down highway 111.
Michael Templeton is a veteran and chapter president of the riding club, he says, “The guys we ride with, like I said we have several Vietnam veterans that do ride with us and again it means the world to them to be here and it means the world to us to support them."
Replicas of the memorial have been traveling since the early 80s, but this is the biggest wall to make a tour around the states, reaching as many people as it can.
"Without fail at every event, you'll see one of our veterans break down and cry.” Barron tells us. “Just because he's never gotten the chance to begin to grieve or heal over this, and it really is our whole purpose for bringing it."
The wall will be up and open to the public starting Friday at 11 AM. It will be at the Palm Spring Air Museum through Sunday night.
All Vietnam War veterans will receive free admission to view the wall. Otherwise the price will be included in the air museum’s admission.
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