Volunteers needed for 'Moving Wall'

The Munnsville American Legion Post 54 is proud to sponsor the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Moving Wall. The memorial will be on display at Stockbridge Valley Central School 24 hours a day from June 25 to 29. There will be an opening ceremony at 6 p.m. June 25 with the closing ceremony taking place at 3 p.m. June 29.

The idea for the Moving Wall and the wall itself came from John Devitt, Gerry Haver and Norris Shears. These three men, all Vietnam Veterans from California, wanted to find a way to "share" the Vietnam Veterans memorial that is located in Washington D.C. In February 1983 while explaining their idea to other veterans John Devitt was asked if the wall would be portable. Wanting to avoid negatives, he replied, "Yeah, it's going to be portable." The men then set about the daunting task of designing the wall so that the names would be very legible and the wall would be sturdy but portable.

The funds for the Moving Wall originated from $2,500 that Devitt and Haver pooled of their owe money. They knew it wouldn't be enough but believed that this special project would help them to get credit along with the promise to make good on any debts, even if it meant paying from their own pockets. The intent was to never charge a fee to view the Wall, and they never have. The funds to maintain the wall are all raised by the public.

The Moving Wall is 253 feet long, slightly longer than half the length of the memorial in Washington D.C., which is 493.5 feet long. The dates on the Wall span from 1959 to 1975. 1959 is the year given by the Department of Defense as when the first American Casualties were. 1975 is the last year with deaths. There are, as of Jan. 1, 58,261 names on the wall. There are no civilian names on the wall. It is dedicated to the 2.7 million people who served in the US Military in Vietnam. All of the 58,261 names will be read aloud during the Wall's visit to the Stockbridge area.

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