Vietnam Veterans Memorial replica arrives in Medical Lake for the weekend

Vietnam Veterans Memorial replica arrives in Medical Lake for the weekend
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The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. is two acres long and sees over five million visitors every year. Some will never have the chance to see it in it’s home, so a traveling replica was made to bring the memorial to veterans. This weekend it is in Medical Lake.

The Moving Wall was created so that people all over the country could experience the power of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It stands about half the size of the one in our nation’s capital, but bares all the names of those who died.

Standing in front of 58,378 names was an overwhelming experience for Vietnam veteran Wes Anderson, even though it isn’t his first time being in front of the memorial.

“When I went to the Wall originally in D.C. in 1997, it took me 3 hours to work up the courage to come down and see it. It’s still emotional for me now because somewhere on this Wall are friends of mine,” said Anderson.

It’s an overwhelming experience that does a world of good for someone who has seen so much.

“It brings closure,” said Anderson. “I can’t go to where they are physically interred so hey, right here.”

It was the reason Re*Imagine Medical Lake fought hard to bring the original replica memorial to the West Plains: the one made for Vietnam veterans by Vietnam veterans.

“We are a military-rich community and we wanted to honor that,” explained Re*Imagine Medical Lake board member Terri Cooper, who directed the effort.

This citizen-led organization also wants to pay tribute to the history of the city. The conflict in Vietnam is a part of it, immortalized on panel 25E of the Memorial, where the names of 2 Medical Lake High School graduates are carved out. Stop by the monument this weekend and you’re bound to hear folks talk about how it changed the city.

“John Jensen is here, and then within a few days his friend and classmate died and they talk about the impact that had on this community and that was Charles Turnbough,” said Cooper.

For years, city leaders have tried to create a permanent memorial for those that have fallen and veterans who now call Medical Lake home.

“It’s never gained enough momentum. Our vision was if we bring it here, and they could see what a park would look like, then we could develop our own,” said Cooper.

That’s an idea that sits well with Anderson.

“This is how we honor them,” he said.

The Moving Wall is located on the 200 block of South Prentis Street in Medical Lake, west of the Medical Lake Middle School. You can see it on a map, here.

There are two full-honors ceremonies over the weekend. On Saturday, a dedication ceremony at noon with a flyover from Fairchild Air Force Base to coincide with Medical Lake’s Founders Day. On Sunday, there will be a closing ceremony at 6pm. Everyone is welcome to attend both ceremonies.
The Moving Wall can be viewed 24-hours a day through noon on Monday, June 17.

Volunteers are stationed at the Moving Wall 24-hours a day and can help guests find the names of loved ones on the wall. They will also escort you to the panel on which the name is on.

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