By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
The Gadsden-Etowah County Patriots Association is planning to honor Vietnam veterans in May this year with several events planned around Memorial Day on Monday, May 29.
In addition to a Memorial Day program at Noccalula Falls Park, the association also plans to designate the area of 12th Street between Meighan Boulevard and Interstate 59 as the “Vietnam Memorial Parkway,” and the bridge on Alabama Highway 77 in Southside as the “Vietnam Veterans Honor Bridge.” But the biggest event the association has planned is bringing “The Moving Wall” to Gadsden.
“The Moving Wall” is a half-sized replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington, D.C. The D.C. wall is more than 500 feet long and displays the names of the over 58,000 men and women who died in Vietnam. Many Etowah County soldiers were among those that did not return, including over 30 from Gadsden.
“The Moving Wall” was John Devitt’s idea, as he saw the original memorial’s 1982 dedication and wanted to share the experience with others. Devitt, Norris Shears, Gerry Haver and other Vietnam veteran volunteers built The Moving Wall. It was displayed for the first time in Tyler, Texas in October of 1984. Two Moving Walls now exist, and travel throughout the country.
“The Moving Wall” will be in Gadsden from May 11 through 15. It will be set up next to Gadsden Convention Hall. Visitors are welcome to come see it day or night.
The wall must be guarded, day and night, by two guards. Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin pledged time from his officers as well as volunteer staff.
In order to pay the remaining $9000 to bring the wall to Gadsden, the association needs community support and donations.
To donate money to bring the memorial to Gadsden, send checks made out to Gadsden-Etowah Patriots Association to PO Box 1524, Gadsden, AL 35902, with “wall” written in the memo line.