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The Daily Guide - Waynesville, MO
  • Moving Wall to honor Vietnam veterans coming to Licking July 4-6

  • In November of 1982, John Devitt, a U.S. Army veteran who spent two tours in Vietnam as crew chief and door gunner with the First Calvary Division, was present for the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and participated in the National Salute to Vietnam Veterans in Washington, D.C.
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  • In November of 1982, John Devitt, a U.S. Army veteran who spent two tours in Vietnam as crew chief and door gunner with the First Calvary Division, was present for the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and participated in the National Salute to Vietnam Veterans in Washington, D.C.
    While he was simply expecting a patriotic ceremony and a nice memorial service, the visit changed his life.
    "It was powerful to say the least," Devitt told the Daily News.
    So much so, that he and a few friends were inspired to put together the "Moving Wall" — a half-size replica of the memorial wall in Washington D.C. that has traveled across the nation for close to 30 years now.
    “It is important that everyone who may not be able to travel to D.C. experience the power of seeing the names of those we lost," Devitt explained.
    He added that the first display of the Moving Wall was in October 1984 in Tyler, Texas.
    The memorial wall, which has touched the lives of millions, will be set up in Licking from Friday, July 4, through Sunday, July 6, as part of the town's Fourth of July celebration. The wall will be coming from Branson.
    "It is our way of saying thank you for those local Vietnam vets who returned home without any recognition," said Suzie Blackburn, the chairperson of the event.
    The opening ceremony for the event will take place at 11 a.m. Friday, July 4, at the old Licking city park on Maple Avenue.
    According to Blackburn, the ceremony will include a color guard ceremony, as well as a salute to soldiers missing in action (MIAs). Col. Brian Bisacre of the 18th Military Police Brigade will be speaking as well.
    Saturday, July 5, will begin with a "warrior walk" at 9 a.m. with funds going to a soldier rehabilitation program at Fort Leonard Wood. At 11 a.m. a service honoring Gold Star families, those who have lost a service member, will be offered as well.
    Blackburn added that each night will end with a closing ceremony which will include the playing of taps and a 21-gun salute.
    The closing ceremony will be at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 6.
    For more information call 573-674-2547.
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