The Wall Project. A time for healing.

August 19, 2014

070517-N-5324B-03By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Mason County is about to be part of a very unique experience. Beginning Wednesday, Aug. 27 to Sunday, Aug. 31, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, also known as the Wall, will encompass City Park.

The Vietnam Traveling Wall Project is being organized by Mason County Allied Veterans Council with the help of other veterans groups and community organizations.

“I’m convinced this is going to be one of the most memorable events for Ludington and Mason County in recent years,” said Dr. Rick Plummer, the project’s spokesman and a Vietnam veteran. “This will be something that is memorable in people’s hears and minds for years to come.”

The traveling wall is one of four walls that travels around the country. The 80 percent replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will take up over a block of Court Street on the north side of City Park, 360-feet long and 8-feet high at the apex. The rest of the park will feature various displays to pay tribute to not only Vietnam veterans but all military veterans and others who have provided service to their country, including emergency service personnel.

The primary focus, though, is the wall.

“It’s important that we welcome Vietnam vets home,” Plummer said. “My own story is pretty much what happened to most Vietnam vets.” Plummer served in the Navy in Vietnam from October 1968 until September 1970. “I got back in September 1970 and flew into LAX airport. There, I and my fellow vets were greeted by a gauntlet of people who were there to geer us and rebuke us for our service. I saw guys get red paint thrown on them and people shouting out, calling us baby killers. This was a pretty typical welcome home for most Vietnam vets.

“So, the wall is a symbol of healing. It’s important that we now welcome our vets home, especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, which is the purpose of the wall.

“The wall itself is designed not only to pay tribute to the 58,478 men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect those freedoms we take for granted, it is also a place for Vietnam vets to go for healing their own wounds, many of which are open still today, 40, 50 years later. Since the wall is open 24 hours a day while it’s here, I imagine many vets will come during the times when there are lighter crowds, to have private time. They will cry over fallen comrades and try to find sense of healing in their own hearts.”

The wall project actually kicks off in Hart. On Wednesday, Aug. 27, motorcycle riders will leave the Oceana County Fairgrounds at 3 p.m., escorting the wall to Ludington; Vietnam veterans will lead the procession. There will be ceremonies Wednesday afternoon (see schedule here) but the actual wall won’t be erected until Thursday morning.

Plummer said the wall is coming to Mason County through the generosity of many individuals, organizations and businesses. Any money that is left over will be donated to the Mason County Veterans Endowment Fund, which assists veterans with emergency needs.

For more information on the wall project in Ludington, visit the website here.

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