Route 66 to Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall
Today, we jumped on “Route 66” to visit The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Moving Wall which will be on display at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontanta, California, through the Fourth of July weekend. Admission is free and the exhibit will be open 24 hours a day.
The “Moving Wall” is a half-size replica of the Washington, DC Vietnam Veteran Memorial. It has been touring the country for more than 20 years. If you have not had the opportunity to make it to DC, you can see this replica version as it tours all over the United States.
Jan Scruggs is the founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, and was the man who had the vision to create a memorial dedicated to all who served in the U.S. Armed Forces in Vietnam. Scruggs was a wounded and decorated Vietnam War veteran. He wanted a memorial to be constructed so that it may serve as a healing device. After a lot of support and money spent, Scruggs finally convinced Congress to construct the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The main part of the wall was completed in 1982 and is located Northeast of the Lincoln Memorial.
In 1982, John Devitt, a former helicopter door gunner and Army veteran, visited Washington, DC for the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and to participate in the National Salute to Vietnam Veterans. This visit and experience changed Devitt’s life and led to the creation of the “Moving Wall.” The first Moving Wall was displayed in Texas in 1984 at the Tyler Rose Festival.
The Wall honors U.S. 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 missing in action during the war.
- There are 58,263 names on the wall
- Names are listed chronologically by the date of casualty.
- Two-thirds of the the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers
- One out of every ten Americans who served in Vietnam was a casualty
- 75,000 Vietnam veterans are severely disabled
- There were 997 casualties on their arrival day
- There were 1443 casualties on their departure day
- There are 8 women listed on the wall (Female Nurses)
- There are 667 “Smith’s” on the wall
- No civilians are listed on the wall
- Youngest veteran on Memorial, Dan Bullock, US Marine Corps, 15 years old
As I walked up to The Moving Wall, I was suddenly overcome with emotions. There were so many veterans around and so many stories being told. Some were creating a pencil rubbing of names on the wall of family members they had lost.
A map of Vietnam was displayed off to the side and there were numerous colored push pins on the map. I stared at in awe for a few minutes. As I stepped back, a Vietnam veteran picked up some red push pins and placed them on the map to indicate where he had been.
As we look back and reflect over this Independence Day weekend, it is important to remember everyone who has served and is currently serving in our US Armed Forces.
Thank you for protecting and serving our great country.
We will never forget.