The East Central University and Ada communities will have the opportunity to pay tribute to Vietnam veterans as the AVTT Traveling Wall, an 80 percent scale version of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C., will be on display on the ECU campus, from noon May 2 to 3 p.m. on May 5.
The wall, presented by the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, will be located on the Centennial Plaza, directly across from the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center.
“Viewing the Traveling Wall is a time to reflect on those who gave their lives for this country and briefly experience a critical time in our nation’s history,” said ECU President John Hargrave.
The mission of the AVTT project is to travel the nation to honor, respect and remember men and women who served, and to pay specific tribute to those who gave all in the service. Since the tribute is mobile it allows people to honor and respect veterans and active military personnel without having to travel great distances to do so.
Across its 360-foot length, the wall contains every single named etched on the original. At its apex, the memorial reaches eight feet.
The AVTT Traveling Wall was completed in early 1998 and began traveling that year. This Traveling Wall is the largest wall replica traveling the United States, and is not to be confused with several other replica walls – the Moving Wall, the Dignity Wall and the Wall That Heals. These replica walls do a fine job and are all on a mutual mission.
Remembering, educating and respect are the main focuses of the AVTT.
“As a veteran, this is a great way to remember the guys who have passed on. This will bring it all home for many of us,” said James Anderson, a counselor in ECU’s Veterans Upward Bound Program.
Anderson served in Vietnam at the end of the war in 1974-75.
“We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. It seems like we never got credit,” Anderson said. “I talked to several veterans who are bringing their kids to see this and pass on that heritage.”
Anderson will be a part of group of motorcycle enthusiasts, the American Legion Riders, who will be escorting the wall from Oklahoma City to Ada.
Those wishing to support the appearance of the Traveling Wall through donations, sponsorships or as volunteers can contact Shelley Hamby at 580-559-5213.