The Moving Wall, a traveling half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be displayed in Urbana June 9-13, in conjunction with Military Appreciation Day, to be held Saturday, June 11 at Urbana’s Grimes Field airport.
The Grimes Foundation is sponsoring the Moving Wall’s Urbana visit. Dave Brandeberry, a local Vietnam veteran who has helped plan the local display, said, “The Moving Wall gives all of us an opportunity to pay respect to the 58,200 soldiers who died in the Vietnam War and to reflect on their sacrifice.”
Creator of the Moving Wall, John Devitt, was so moved by the 1982 dedication of the memorial in Washington that he decided to share that experience with those who couldn’t go to Washington. He and other Vietnam veterans built the first of two Moving Walls in 1984.
Procession through Urbana
The Moving Wall, transported in a semi-trailer, will be escorted through Urbana Thursday, June 9 in a procession that will start at 10 a.m. from Freedom Grove, by the Champaign County Community Center 1512 S. U.S. 68, in Urbana.
The parade will proceed north through town to the old Urbana armory, 1412 N. Main St., south of Grimes Field, where it will be set up and open for public display 24 hours a day from 5 p.m. June 9 through 5 p.m. Monday, June 13.
The procession will be led by grand marshal Buzzy Moore, local veteran services director, and escorted by motorcycle groups, including Patriot Guard Riders, Leathernecks Motorcycle Club, U.S. Marine Riders Association, Resurrection Riders, In-Country Motorcycle Club, U.S. Military Veterans Motorcycle Club, Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, Sons of Mosby, Scroll Syndicate Veterans Motorcycle Club and others. The procession will also include vintage military vehicles, public service vehicles and the TrueChat mobile broadcast studio.
After the two 127-foot legs of the Moving Wall are set up in front of the armory, the U.S. Air Force Band of Flight will perform, beginning at 4:30 p.m. A formal opening ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. with Tim West, the Urbana Fire Department chaplain, giving the invocation. Matthew Keyes, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s aide, will read a declaration. Then Keyes and Marty Hess, president of Urbana City Council, will place a wreath at the Wall.
The Moving Wall will be open to the public until the closing ceremony at 5 p.m. Monday, June 13. The local posts of the VFW, DAV, American Legion and Amvets, and other volunteers, will provide a 24/7 security detail at the wall while it is in Urbana.
The closing ceremony will be preceded, at about 4:40 p.m., by bagpipes, played by Eric Beverly of the Urbana Fire Department. Kerry Brugger, Urbana director of administration, will open the closing, followed by Fr. Matt Lee of St. Mary Church, offering the benediction. State Rep. Nino Vitale will deliver the closing address, which will include the names of the 10 Champaign County residents who perished in Vietnam. The ceremony will conclude with bagpipes, followed by a volley from the American Legion rifle team and an aircraft flyby.
Military Appreciation Day
Military Appreciation Day, co-sponsored by DAV Chapter 31 and VFW Post 5451 of Urbana, will focus on recognizing Vietnam era veterans, as did last year’s Military Appreciation Day, attended by about 5,000 guests.
This year’s event will be larger, with an anticipated attendance of 8,000, as well as more aircraft flying in and on display at Grimes Field. The event will feature:
· Nine helicopters, 21 fixed wing aircraft and 50 military vehicles from the Vietnam era
· Rides on Huey and Cobra helicopters and other aircraft
· Pancake breakfast hosted by the Champaign County Pilots Association starting at 7 a.m.
· The Military Appreciation 5K run starting at the armory at 8:15 a.m. Registration at premierraces.com.
· Opening ceremony at 10 a.m. Introduction by Steve Hess, Champaign County commissioner and benediction by Rev. Jim Lillibridge of the Urbana United Methodist Church. Remarks by U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan and declaration by Michael Dustman, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s aide, followed by flybys.
· Parachute jump at noon
· USO show at noon. Music by the Wright Brothers, featuring Pinups for Patriots.
· Parade of military vehicles starting at noon
· Beer garden with live music and food starting at noon
· The Ohio Valley British Brass Band, 3 to 4:30 p.m., in the Grimes Field hangar
· More than a dozen aviation museums, including the Champaign Aviation Museum and Grimes Flying Lab at Grimes Field, will offer displays and several veterans organizations will participate.