JEFFERSON CITY, MO, November 11, 2014 – The Jefferson City Veterans Council, a non-profit organization comprised of local member groups, including the American Legion Posts 5 & 231, VFW posts 1003 & 35, Marine Corp League , DAV, FRA, Ex POW’s, Navy Club and Military Order of the Cooties, hosted a Veteran’s Day Observance on November 11, 2014 at 11 am in the Missouri State Capitol Rotunda. At the event, Don Hentges, Council President, announced plans for the return of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Moving Wall to the State Capitol after being here 10 years ago in November 2005.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Moving Wall, a half sized replica of the Wall in Washington D.C., will be on display on the South lawn of the Missouri State Capitol September 24-28, 2015. A repeat project by the Jefferson City Veterans Council, organizers hope to attract more than 20,000 people to the memorial during its visit. Jill Snodgrass, President of Daily Plan-it, a special event management firm, has been retained to help direct the project and the 200 plus volunteers it will require to staff the Wall which will be available for viewing 24/7.
Tentatively, an opening ceremony is planned for Thursday, September 24 at noon. Immediately following volunteers will begin the vigilant reading of all 58,286 names of the men and women who gave their life in service to their country during the Vietnam War. Anyone, including members of Veteran’s organizations across the state, can volunteer to be a part of this process.
Businesses and individuals are urged to become involved by donating time, services and financial support. For more information please visit the Moving Wall websitewww.jeffersoncityveteranscouncil.org or call 573.680.5468.
FACTS ABOUT THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was conceived by Jan Scruggs. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc., was incorporated on April 27, 1979 in Washington, D.C., by a group of Vietnam veterans: Jan Scruggs, President of VVMF; Robert Doubek, Project Director and later as Executive Director; John Wheeler, Chairman of the Board.
They lobbied Congress for a two-acre plot of land in Constitution Gardens. Significant support came from Senator Charles Mathias, Jr., of Maryland and Senator John Warner of Virginia. On July 1, 1980 President Jimmy Carter signed the legislation to provide a site in Constitution Gardens near the Lincoln Memorial. It was a three and a half year task to build the Memorial and to orchestrate a celebration, under the direction of Sandie Fauriol, to salute those who served in Vietnam.
The Memorial wall was designed by Maya Ying Lin and was dedicated on November 13, 1982. The sculpture created by Frederick Hart called “The Three Servicemen” was unveiled on November 8, 1984. In 1986 Vietnam nurse Diane Evans began the task of adding a statue to the site, recognizing the women who served in Vietnam. The statue, sculpted by Glenna Goodacre, was dedicated on November 11, 1992.
The Idea of a Mobile Wall
The concept of building The Moving Wall grew out of discussions by John Devitt, Gerry Haver and Norris Shears. Vietnam veterans from California, concerned with what they might possibly do to somehow “keep alive” and share the power and good that Devitt had experienced while attending the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
At first it was decided to build a replica and display it on the West Coast, so that people who lived so far from the Capitol might have a chance to experience the Wall. While in Washington, D.C., in February 1983, Devitt was explaining his project to several other veterans he had just met. One exclaimed, “That is a great idea! Is this going to be portable?” Trying to avoid any negatives around his project, John simply nodded and replied, “Yeah, it’s going to be portable.”
The Official Name
Originally, Devitt simply called it the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Mobile), drawing on his own background as a helicopter crew chief in the First Calvary Division (Airmobile). In February 1985, while the Wall was on display at the State of California Veterans Home in Yountville, Calif., the name “The Moving Wall” was dubbed by Micki Voisard of St. Helena, Calif. She is a member of Vietnam Combat Veterans, Ltd., and a former stewardess with Flying Tigers Airline. The Moving Wall has also been referred to as “The Traveling Wall,” and the “Half-Scale Replica Wall.” However, its official name is The Moving Wall.
Construction of the Moving Wall
Construction began in February 1983 after experimenting with various methods of replicating the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. Out of several methods tried, Devitt decided silk-screening was the best way to replicate the names, making each name as legible as it is on the Memorial in Washington. The actual construction was done by Devitt, Gerry Haver and Norris Shears. When they began, Devitt was confident they would complete the project in two weeks.
The Moving Wall was actually completed in October 1984, having taken nearly two years rather than the two weeks Devitt had hoped for. On October 11, 1984 the last panel was silk-screened, mounted on its frame while the ink was still wet and loaded into its crate.
On October 15, just four days later, The Moving Wall was erected for the first time in Tyler, Texas. Carl McClung, A Vietnam veteran in Tyler, had heard about The Moving Wall seven months before and had contacted Devitt about scheduling a date. The display in Tyler coincided with the East Texas Rose Festival.
The Moving Wall is made of aluminum panels, having a surface painted with a two-part polyurethane gloss black which gives a mirror-like finish, mounted to angular aluminum frames. The original structure was made of black Plexiglas panels mounted to plywood and lumber frames. The original structure toured for almost three years before it was decided to replace the structure because of so much weathering. The aluminum structure is supported from the back by 74 steel square tubular braces.
Who Paid for the Moving Wall?
The Moving Wall was paid for, like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, from contributions made by the public.
To get the project started without delay, Devitt and Haver pooled their own personal funds, which totaled barely over $2,500. Under normal circumstances, it would not have been enough cash to begin a project of this magnitude with any hope of success.
However, Devitt was convinced this was not a “normal” project. With a lot of leg-work, Devitt and Haver found several trusting and supportive individuals and companies who helped out by granting these two strangers credit based on their presentation and promise to make good on any debts, even if they had to pay on their own in the end.
How does a Community Get the Wall?
An application must be filed with the organization at least two years in advance. Scheduling is done based on routing availability as the Wall travels through the country. Bringing “The Moving Wall” to a community is a task that requires the help and assistance of many. From the day of setup through the dismantling, the program takes a number of people to make the visit a truly memorable event. Please take the time to view this site to learn about “The Moving Wall” and all that it entails. If you have a skill or desire and wish to assist our community, please fill out the volunteer form and submit it to the sponsoring organization.
Donations and sponsorship’s are tax deductible as a charitable donation.
For more information, please call 573.680.5468
www.jeffersoncityveteranscouncil.org – www.facebook.com/VietnamMovingWallJCMO