Archived Story

Veterans group wants to bring Vietnam wall to Ironton

Published 11:01am Thursday, February 28, 2013

Almost 40 years have passed since the end of the Vietnam War, but many do not want to forget the 58,196 Americans who died in a conflict that divided the country for almost two decades.

Their names are permanently etched on the granite face of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., erected in 1982. Made up of two sections that extend 246 feet, the wall at its highest point stretches upward 10 feet.

Remembering their sacrifice is the mission of the permanent wall. So moved was one Army veteran that John Devitt, a former helicopter gunner, wanted to build a moveable wall so that others could understand the impact of the memorial. Devitt was able to create a replica, called the Moving Wall that has toured more than 400 cities in the United States.

Now, the American Legion Post 433 wants to bring that touring memorial to Ironton during the annual Rally on the River, if the post can come up with $4,000.

“We have been on the selection list for over three years,” Cristi Murphy, of the post’s ladies auxiliary, told the Lawrence County Commissioners at their Tuesday work session.

Murphy would like the commission to make a contribution to the effort to bring the wall to Ironton.

Three weeks ago the post was notified that the wall was available for display the week of Aug. 15 to 19, during this year’s Rally on the River. The cost for transportation and security is $6,000 and the post already had $2,000 it can commit to the project.

“Most are really big cities and what an honor it is for us,” Murphy said. “We don’t have very long to pull it all together to make it happen.”

The post’s goal is to display the wall at the Ironton Hills Shopping Center along with the Ohio Flags of Honor, which will be exhibited for the third straight year during the rally.

“This is a once and a lifetime opportunity,” Commissioner Les Boggs said. “I’m sure we can pledge something.”

Commission President Bill Pratt asked Murphy to check back with them in about a month.

“We will have a better idea to see if we can scrape up some money,” Pratt said.

Anyone wishing to make a contribution, can make out checks to the American Legion Post 433 Moving Wall Fund. They can be taken to Citizens’ Deposit Bank or mailed to P.O. Box 377 Ironton, OH 45638.

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