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  • Sunday, June 12, 2011


    Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall to be in Orange for Father's Day weekend

    METRO Talk
    a community service of the
    Greater Orange Community Orgainization

    Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall to be in Orange for Father’s Day Weekend

    The Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Museum will be at Yorba Park ( at Chapman Ave and the 55 Freeway) in Orange June 15-June 19 (Father’s Day) on display for 24 hours a day. Admission is free.

    One of several traveling ½ scale replicas of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C., the traveling exhibit is called “The Wall that Heals”. The traveling exhibits visit hundreds of communities across the U.S. each year allowing thousands of veterans and others to visit the wall within their own communities. Part of the mission of the Wall is to match names of those killed or missing in action to photographs of those who served.

    The City of Orange Yorba Park display is sponsored by Vision 2 Victory, a group that helps veterans from all wars to fulfill requested “dreams”, much like the Make A Wish foundation does for ill children.

    One of the goals in remembering the Vietnam War (one of the most controversial wars in U.S. history) with a physical memorial was to do so by avoiding controversy with any commentary on the war itself. However, the actual design of the memorial became controversial. The winning design for the memorial was chosen from over 1400 entries submitted in a national contest. The wining designer was Maya Ying Lin, a 21 year old architecture student at Yale University. The unconventional design quickly became controversial especially among veterans with the black stone wall memorial being nicknamed the “black gash of shame”. Many early prominent supporters of the memorial withdrew their support. President Ronald Regan’s Secretary of the Interior James Watt refused to issue a building permit for the memorial.

    With the simplicity of the design, a black granite wall, in the shape of a V with the names of the American military dead and missing inscribed, Maya Ying Lin the designer hoped that "these names, seemingly infinite in number, [would] convey the sense of overwhelming numbers, while unifying these individuals into a whole.” Once the Wall was unveiled in 1982 with the original 58,175 names, most of the critics, and Americans came to appreciate the simple beauty and emotional power of the wall.

    One of those in attendance at the 1982 dedication ceremonies of the Vietnam Veteran Memorial in Washington D.C. was John Devitt of Stockton, California. The Vietnam veteran was so moved by what he saw as the healing nature of the memorial that he decided to make a transportable version of the Wall- a “Traveling Wall” for those who could not travel to the memorial in the nation’s Capital. Devitt established the Vietnam Combat Veterans organization using his own finances to fund the building of the first half-sized replica of the Wall. It was first displayed in Tyler Texas in 1984. The waiting list for the Moving Wall quickly grew that Vietnam Combat Veterans built two more Walls. Now there are several that move throughout the United States attracting millions of visitors. All were paid for through private contributions.

    Traveling with the Wall is a Traveling Museum and Information Center. It is the goal of the exhibit to serve as a resource for people to learn about friends and loved ones lost in the war. With the use of scanner technology, visitors can upload photos and remembrances of loved ones on the Wall. They are saved and forwarded to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Education Center in Washington D.C. Part of the mission of the Traveling Walls is to put a face to all the names on the Memorial and to tell their stories so they will not be forgotten. Over 1,200 local Orange County Vietnam Veterans listed on the Wall still do not have a photograph associated with their name.

    The controversy over the design led to additions to the overall memorial area on the Mall in Washington D.C.. A bronze statue called The Three Soldiers (often called The Three Serviceman) was added as a compromise, as was the statue called the Vietnam Women’s Memorial which depicts three uninformed women with a wounded soldier. In 2004, a Memorial plaque was added in a block of black carved granite. It is inscribed: "In memory of the men and women who served in the Vietnam War and later died as a result of their service. We honor and remember their sacrifice."

    For More information on Vision 2 Victory CLICK ON: V2V

    To volunteer to sign up for a shift at Yorba Park to help guard the Wall and assist those who are visiting CLICK ON: WALL SIGN UP

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    Greater Orange News Service is a community service of the Orange Communication System /OCS/, the communications arm of the Greater Orange Community Orgainization