From October 17-21, the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall will be here in Collierville. It’s a ⅗ scale replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C., standing about six feet tall and 300 feet from end-to-end. The wall includes all 58, 272 names of the U.S. military veterans that the original wall does.
According to their website, “this Traveling Memorial stands as a reminder of the great sacrifices made during the Vietnam War. It was made for the purpose of helping heal and rekindle friendships and to allow people the opportunity to visit loved ones in their home town who otherwise may not be able to make the trip to Washington.”
Brian Walker, Jr. Vice Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Department of Tennessee and previous Post 5066 Commander, is excited for the Wall’s arrival. He said, “We’ve been told to expect anywhere between 20,000 to 60,000 people over four days.” He also has a personal connection with this Wall and what it represents, adding, “I know with my generation, and this Post, the Vietnam guys are deeply respected because they are more than just Vietnam veterans –– they are community leaders.”
Walker thinks it is especially important to bring children to visit the Wall. “We’re losing about 400 Vietnam veterans every day. There were over 2 million boots on the ground and less than 800,000 left,” said Walker. “So bring the family out and talk to your kids about the Wall. We’ll have Vietnam veterans out there that they can talk to, and let them get a grasp of what that Wall means.”
Over the four days that the Wall will be in Collierville, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5066 will host several fundraisers to benefit local veterans and the continued renovations of the Post. For example, VFW members will be serving lunch –– hamburgers, hot dogs and chili from Thomas Meat & Seafood Market and Catering –– for a few dollars to anyone who stops by the memorial.
However, the VFW Post 5066’s largest fundraiser is the Boston Butt Fundraiser, sponsored by Landers. Orders have to be placed by October 15th, and all Boston Butts will be prepared by Thomas Meat & Seafood Market and Catering. Pick up will be at Central Church on October 18th –– use www.eventbrite.com and search “VFW Boston Butts Fundraiser” to place your order and support the VFW!
Poppies are now available to purchase for a dollar at both Thomas Meat & Seafood Market & Catering, as well as at Dyer’s on the Town Square. Poppies have been the official memorial flower of the VFW since 1922, and help provide for specific assistance to disabled veterans.
“When we do our poppy drives, we get a lot of ‘Wow, I haven’t seen one of these since I was a little girl.’ The children of the parents of the WWII generation, they can remember their parents doing it and doing it all the time,” said Walker. “It’s important to us to carry that legacy on.”
The Wall will be displayed at Central Church from 5pm on Thursday 17th until 8pm on Monday 21st, so make sure to visit before it’s gone! Find out more information about the Wall here.
Story by | Regan Hewitt