Aurora to display Moving Wall for Veterans Day
Beacon-News Staff March 11, 2013 4:10PM
Volunteers put a Moving Wall panel in place for its exhibition in New Lenox in Will County in 2011. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 13, 2013 6:27AM
AURORA — It has been 24 years since The Moving Wall Vietnam Veterans Memorial has been on display in Aurora. But it’s coming back this Veterans Day through the efforts of the Fox Valley Veterans Breakfast Club, Vietnam veteran Herschel Luckinbill and an army of volunteers.
The Moving Wall, a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will rise in the practice soccer fields of West Aurora High School and be on display Nov. 7 through 11. The traveling replica of the World War II memorial and other military displays also will be on display during the “Field of Honor” event.
Luckinbill submitted an application to bring The Moving Wall to Aurora almost a year ago. He recently was notified that the Wall would be scheduled to arrive in Aurora in early November.
The Wall is engraved with the names of 58,282 Americans who died in the Vietnam war or are still unaccounted for (prisoners of war and missing in action).
“The entire Aurora community is extremely supportive of our troops, they demonstrate respect for our veterans and they take pride in our military,” said Rudy Keller, co-principal of West Aurora High School and a member of the committee to bring The Moving Wall to Aurora.
When The Moving Wall first visited Aurora 24 years ago, it was displayed on Veterans Island in the Fox River. Former American Legion Post 84 Commander and Army veteran Norris “Doc” Erickson, who died in 2012, was instrumental in bringing the wall to Aurora in 1989. Aurora was the only Chicago-area host of The Moving Wall that year.
Luckinbill is looking for sponsors to help fund the cost of bringing The Moving Wall to Aurora — estimated at $30,000.
He also is looking for volunteers to help with the event. Luckinbill is estimating upward of 150,000 people will come to Aurora during the four days The Moving Wall is on display.
“There will be plenty to do,” Luckinbill said. “There will be a task for every person who would like to help.”
A community volunteer meeting is being planned. Those interested in volunteering for the event or being sponsors can call Luckinbill at 630-801-9591.
Like the original Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., The Moving Wall was paid for solely through private contributions.
The concept and actual building of The Moving Wall grew out of the efforts of three Vietnam veterans from California who wished to share the power that one of the men, John Devitt, experienced while attending the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982. The Moving Wall was completed in 1984.
The length of The Moving Wall is 254 feet, slightly longer than half the length of the memorial in Washington, D.C.