THE ISSUE: The Moving Wall comes to Ottawa this week
OUR VIEW: Vietnam veterans memorial an opportunity to heal
For more than 30 years, "The Moving Wall" has toured the country, bringing a half-size replica of the Washington DC Vietnam Veterans Memorial to many who can't make the trip to the nation's capital.
The memorial honors service members of the U.S. Armed Forces who fought in the Vietnam War, service members who died in service in Vietnam/South East Asia, and those service members who were unaccounted for during the war. The actual memorial complex sits on two acres.
And thanks to efforts by the La Salle County Veterans Tribute Group as well as other volunteers and donors, the wall will make its way to Ottawa this week, complete with several-days-worth of activities.
The wall arrives Wednesday, June 6, at the UAW Pat Greathouse Center, 1000 E. Center St. An opening ceremony is planned for 5 p.m. Thursday, June 7. On Friday, June 8, a live bald eagle will be on display from noon to 5 p.m. A pancake breakfast will be Friday, June 8, candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 10, and the closing ceremony at noon on Monday, June 11. (for event information, contact Roger Reynolds at 630-853-3713, or firstname.lastname@example.org)
The good news is even if you can't make any of the planned events, the wall will be available for viewing 24 hours a day from noon Thursday to noon Monday.
Local organizers would like area residents to attend to “Remember the La Salle County 33,” the 33 local service members who died during the war. But of course they'd like visitors from all over.
While it's not the first time The Moving Wall has been to Ottawa, it has been about 30 years.
The event is sponsored by the La Salle County Veterans Tribute Group, which is seeking community support in the form of funds, donations and volunteers.
The cost for the wall is $7,500. Funds also are needed for sound equipment, chairs, tents, lighting, staging, publicity and other items for the event.
The goal is to raise $20,000 to $25,000 to cover all anticipated expenses.
Donations can be made to the La Salle County Veterans Tribute Group at the Ottawa Savings Bank or online at gofundme.com/bring-the-moving-wall-to-ottawa-il.
This is certain to be a moving event, and one we can be proud to have in Ottawa – thanks to those who worked hard to make it happen.