A half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be returning to Eastern Iowa next week.
“The Moving Wall,” which was at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids last September, will be displayed starting at 1 p.m. June 30, through 8 a.m. July 5 at the Clayton County Fairgrounds in National, north of Garnavillo on Highway 52.
The wall, which is nearly 253 feet long, displays the names of the more than 58,000 men and women killed in Vietnam, as well as those who are still missing.
Garnavillo resident Wendy Kuhse, whose husband Lanny is a Vietnam-era veteran, said last year, she filled out an application online requesting the wall come to northeast Iowa. After hearing the wall was in Wisconsin, she and her husband drove to see it. In Wisconsin, they had the opportunity to speak with Aaron Gray, who drives the wall around the nation.
“I asked Aaron if he remembered getting my application, and he said that he didn’t,” Kuhse said. “I told him what we wanted to do, but he was doubtful that I could get anything soon because dates for the year had already been scheduled. We got a surprise when we received a communication stating that June 30 to July 5 had suddenly opened up.”
It costs about $5,500 plus expenses to bring the wall to town. Wendy said that she wanted to make the attempt to get the wall to National a community project.
“We got more than 200 donations,” she said. “I have also gotten emails from high school students and citizens that wanted to help in one way or another.”
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Additional funding has been used to book additional exhibits related to the Vietnam War to complement The Moving Wall. There also will be will be a Quilts of Valor presentation, a presentation by the American Rogues — the official band of the National Navy Seal Museum — a motorcycle escort for the Wall on June 30, living replicas of the Three Soldiers and Vietnam Women’s Memorial and a complimentary booklet that informs people about the Vietnam War and the nine Clayton County men who died in the war.
The Moving Wall will be open 24 hours a day, and the other exhibits will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“Our goal is to help remember the war and the 1960s and to teach those that were not even born during that period what the war was all about,” Kuhse said. “We also want to show that we are a grateful nation.”