The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is one place where pro- and anti- war activists can come together to reconcile and honor the men and women who served in Vietnam.
Now Inland Empire residents have an opportunity to experience the deeply moving memorial via a half-size replica to be displayed in Fontana in May.
Sponsored by a coalition of veterans groups and the city of Fontana, the Vietnam Moving Wall will be displayed 24 hours a day at Fontana's Miller Park May 1 through May 5.
Special guest will be Medal of Honor Recipient Jon Cavaiani, who was bestowed the honor in 1971 for his heroism on the battlefields of Vietnam.
Besides providing a chance to honor the sacrifices of America's military heroes, the "Moving Wall" is an excellent educational opportunity, said VFW Post 772 Commander Joe Dean. His post has taken the lead on bringing the wall to Fontana.
"A lot of people don't know what the Wall is all about. This generation doesn't know what Vietnam was all about. The Wall is a remembrance, it's a healing process, and it has great educational value," Dean said. "I have talked to several schools. Some are planning to bring classes to learn about the Wall."
The "Moving Wall" will be a deeply personal experience for VFW member Ray Medina.
Long after the war Medina and some of the buddies he served with in Vietnam met in Washington DC to celebrate the anniversary of the Vietnam Memorial. Even though 30 years had passed, their bond was still strong.
"They were the guys you leaned on when you had to," Medina said. "Being at the wall brought out a lot of emotions that had been buried. I expect the Moving Wall will have a similar impact."
The organizing committee is still seeking donations in the form of cash, food, water and other needed items.
The event is cosponsored by American Legion Post 262, VFW Post 6563 and Amvets Post 1240.
It will be located at Miller Park, at Arrow Blvd. just east of Sierra. For more information contact Post Commander Joe Dean at (909) 829-9490, Ann Knickerbocker at (909) 822-8625 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Lydia Wibert at 213-4039.