Licking County News

Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall

Sportsman's Club will host display July 11-14

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Bill Tate wants to get the word out as quickly as possible so people can plan their summer schedules around an important community event.

"This is going to be a very large thing," said Tate, media outreach coordinator for the Johnstown Community Sportsman's Club.

The club will host the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, in conjunction with Johnstown's bicentennial celebration, to honor veterans of the Vietnam era, particularly those who lost their lives.

According to a press release, the Wall will be on the Sportsman's Club property, 7357 Sportsman Club Road NW, about three miles east of the Johnstown Square.

Opening ceremonies will start at noon July 11. and a closing ceremony is scheduled at 3 p.m. July 14.

Between those times, the Wall will be accessible to visitors around the clock. Sportsman's Club staff and other volunteers will be available to help visitors locate names of fallen servicemen and make pencil rubbings of their names onto paper.

Each day, there will be presentations by distinguished speakers and ceremonies involving regional organizations. There is abundant parking on the club property.

There is no charge either to park for the event or to visit the Wall.

The truck transporting the Wall's structures will be escorted by patriotic motorcyclists on the final leg of its journey July 10, according to the press release.

It will follow a route from Heath, passing through Granville, Alexandria and Johnstown en route to the Sportsman's Club.

"There are several of these (walls) around," Tate said, but he believes the one headed to Johnstown is the largest of the replicas.

He said this wall is 80 percent the mass of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It measures 360 feet long and 8 feet tall, with a flag display on top.

"There are a lot of moving parts to it," he said.

Tate said Sportsman's Club members are meeting monthly to organize all the "pomp and circumstance" surrounding the Wall's arrival and visit.

"Those who have been to the wall in Washington can attest to the strong emotions it often brings out in visitors who have a connection to one or more of the service members whose names are carved into the dark granite," the release said.

There are more than 58,000 service members' names on the memorial, including 38 from Licking County. About 1,200 are listed as missing.

Johnstown's bicentennial celebration also will include a tribute to the more than 3,000 victims and first-responders lost as a result of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

According to the release, the Department of Veterans Affairs will have a van with a portable clinic onsite the Friday and Saturday of the visit, July 12-13, staffed by personnel who will help enroll and screen veterans who are eligible for VA benefits.

Volunteers from the Disabled American Veterans organization will staff a tent Friday both days to talk to veterans or their surviving dependents about VA benefits.

Tate said the Sportsman's Club will continue to release more details about the event as they become available.

More information is available online at the Johnstown Community Sportsman's Club website at jcscohio.org.

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