Moving Wall-Vietnam Veterans Memorial will be in Defiance on June 12-15 for 50th war anniversary

By DARLENE PRINCE @cnDarlenePrince Published:

The Moving Wall-Vietnam Veterans Memorial will be on display in Defiance from June 12-15 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War.

The event was spearheaded by the Defiance County Veteran's Office with assistance by veteran's officer Mike Williams, benefits counselor Tanya Brunner and administrative assistant Erin Clady. Also deeply involved in the effort to bring the wall to Defiance were the Vietnam Veterans of America Post 954, Defiance VFW Post 3360 and its Ladies Auxiliary, Defiance DAV Chapter 36, Jewell American Legion Post 635, Defiance AMVETS Post 1991 and Master Gardeners of Defiance County. Defiance College officials have graciously opened their campus for the three-day event.

A committee, composed of about 20-plus people including Vietnam veterans, the Defiance County Veteran's Office and the previously-mentioned groups, met a number of times over the past two years to make plans for the event.

The wall will be open to the public on June 12-15, and on display at Defiance College. A number of events will take place at the college which will all be free and open to the public.

Starting at 9 a.m. on June 12, the Moving Wall will have a motorcycle escort from the K of C parking lot on Elliott Road east to the Domersville Road overpass, where it will proceed onto U.S. 24 and head west to the Baltimore Road exit. The procession will follow Baltimore Road to Holgate Avenue, past the fire department and turn north on North Clinton Street.

The wall will stop for a few moments at the Defiance County War Memorial at the courthouse in remembrance of the fallen servicemen. The Defiance Fire Department and the Archbold Fire Department will have their aerial towers, with a large flag flying from them, positioned on Clinton Street, just north of the courthouse.

The wall, with its escort, will proceed north on Clinton Street to Stadium Drive, where it will turn onto Webster Street to its final destination at a location between Whitney and McReynolds halls on the Defiance College campus. The wall will open at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 12, and remain open 24 hours a day to the public through June 15. It will be taken down on June 16 and moved out of town.

During the three-day weekend, the Quilts of Tears will be on display at the Serrick Campus Center at Defiance College, from 9 a.m.-9 p.m., June 13-15. The Quilts of Tears are made from sections of material sent in from people who are honoring or remembering those who have been affected by Agent Orange. Each quilt square is personalized with the story of a veteran or group. Those squares are then sewn into larger quilts.

There will be a display on the DC campus by the legendary Red Horse Squadron of various types of military equipment used by the squadron.

A seminar about the nation's search and recovery operations for POWs and MIAs will be held twice over the weekend at Schomburg Auditorium -- on Saturday, June 14, at 4 p.m., and Sunday, June 15, at 2 p.m. The speaker will be retired Army Col. Ward B. Nickisch. These seminars are free for the public to attend.

A welcome tent and information center for those visiting the wall will be in place on the campus grounds between McReynolds and Whitney halls. Visitors may go to the tent to obtain information.

There will be a musicians' tent by the Pilgrim Library where, on Saturday night, at 7 p.m., a band will be performing. One Hour at the Wall -- a gathering of Vietnam veterans will be held on Saturday at 8 p.m.

On Sunday, a patriotic public ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the war will be held at the wall at 6 p.m. There will be music by The Brass Works, directed by Scott Rogers. The emcee will be Mike Williams, USMC. Father John F. Stites will give the invocation. The speaker will Col. Ward Nickisch, U.S. Army Retired. There will be a presentation of several wreaths and a reading of the fallen soldiers' names. In case of rain, the public ceremony will be held at the Karl H. Weaner Community Center on the campus.

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