Traveling Vietnam Wall returning to Oshkosh

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 4:39 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2021 at 6:38 PM CDT
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - After the pandemic delayed its visit last year, the Traveling Vietnam Wall is coming back to Oshkosh. it will be the fifth time in the past 21 years the replica wall has been on display in the city.

Last in Oshkosh in 2016, the Traveling Vietnam Wall is returning to Sunnyview Expo next week. The Son’s of The American Legion Squadron 70 is leading the effort.

According to Commander Rick Helms, “The Wall has a deep family history. My uncle was killed in Vietnam so his name is obviously on the wall.”

“My uncle fought in Vietnam. He’s a Purple Heart recipient. Other members of our committee, their brother is on the wall, so this is very personal for us which is why we’re very passionate about it. And we want to make sure that everybody has that opportunity,” adds sergeant-at-arms Mike Bennett.

The Wall will arrive in Oshkosh on Wednesday before a procession will lead it to Sunnyview Expo.

“We have the escort leaving the Winnebago County Courthouse about 6:30pm Wednesday evening, coming straight down Jackson Street to County Road Y out here. So, if people want to see the wall escort, military, fire trucks, everything that’s going to be involved, line the streets of Jackson about 6:30 and watch everything go by and wave and get your flags out,” says Helms.

The replica, 80% the size of the memorial wall in Washington D.C. will be on display from 3 p.m. on October 7th until noon on the 10th. Open 24 hours a day, it’s free to the public, and something people are encouraged to visit.

Helms says, “When you walk in and see it, it really kind of hits you. There’s a lot there to look at. There’s a lot of emotions that generally happen when it’s here. So, it’s just a very moving experience and that’s why we keep being involved with brining it back time and time again.”

The Traveling Wall gives people, who might not be able to travel to D.C., an opportunity to see it and learn more about its significance.

“It’s not just for military,” says Bennett. Adding, “We want to pay our respects to the veterans, but it’s also an education for the kids. This is something that is talked about in schools, but they may not see it And it’s amazing when you can see it, touch and feel it and talk with other veterans.”

Veterans, volunteers, and counselors will all be on hand to help anyone navigate their visit.

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