Volunteers sought for Vietnam memorial wall

June 17, 2014

LUDINGTON —  A call for volunteers is being issued by the Mason County Allied Veterans Council for help with a patriotic project—a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and other daily tributes, which is coming to Ludington over the Labor Day holiday weekend in late August. This moving memorial and ceremonies will be open and free to the public, Wednesday, August 27 through Sunday, August 31, 2014, in Ludington City Park, according to Vietnam War veteran and one of the original organizers of this special project, Ron Martin.

Martin adds that the traveling Vietnam Wall is made available to communities across the country by The American Veterans Traveling Tribute. The AVTT presents a comprehensive “Cost of Freedom” tribute, which includes numerous memorials and exhibits, the centerpiece being the Traveling Wall, an 80 percent scale version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C.  Across its 360-foot length, the Wall lists the names of every American casualty from the war etched on its surface, just as the original.  The memorial is eight-feet tall at its apex and is the largest Wall replica traveling the USA.  AVTT is also the only tribute event which includes the one of a kind Gold Dog Tag display representing the fallen from the Global War on Terror.

The AVTT tribute is sponsored locally by the Mason County Allied Veterans Council, a collective of representatives from Mason County’s American Legion, two area VFW’s and the local AmVets chapter.  An extensive list of volunteers will be needed during these five days for security, information, clean-up, and other assigned details, according to MCAVC president and Iraqi Freedom veteran, Michelle Hemmer.

The AVTT Vietnam Wall and the various ceremonies and tributes which will take place over the course of the Wall’s presence in Ludington is designed for communities across West Michigan and throughout the Great Lakes area to come together to honor, respect and remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country and to educate everyone about the costs of freedom, according to Army veteran and another of the original organizers of the event, Bob Williams.

Both Martin and Williams add that the traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and all activities associated with its presence locally, like the original memorial in Washington itself, heals a nation and gives us all a sense of gratitude for all those who have answered the call.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial honors U.S. service members of the 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 (Missing In Action) during the War. The memorial, which was completed in 1982, is in Constitution Gardens adjacent to the National Mall, just northeast of the Lincoln Memorial and receives around 3 million visitors each year. The AVTT tribute is a fitting commemoration and offers those who cannot travel to our nation’s capital the opportunity to experience the powerful, moving effect of the memorial, according to Vietnam veteran Budde Reed.

Hemmer asks for all interested in volunteering to please call her at 231-690-5845 or email her atmichelle.hemm@gmail.com.  Further information about the Mason County Traveling Vietnam Veterans Wall project can be found online at www.masoncountywallproject.com or on Facebook at Mason County Vietnam Wall Project.

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