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Replica Wall centerpiece for Vietnam vets' reunion in Kearney

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Parade Map for Vietnam Wall

The Patriot Guard Motorcyclists will escort The Wall That Heals and mobile education center from Gibbon to Kearney at 1 p.m. Tuesday. Volunteers will assemble the wall Wednesday.

KEARNEY — Organizers hope that individuals who still suffer the emotional, mental and physical scars of the Vietnam War will gain healing next week.

The traveling replica of the Vietnam War Memorial will roll into Kearney next week for a four-day visit from 8 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 11 through 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14.

The Wall will be displayed at Patriot Park at 4511 E. 56th St., near the Central Nebraska Veterans’ Home at 4510 E. 56th St.

Prior to the final leg of its trip to Kearney, the Wall will be in Gibbon at Gibbon High School.

A parade featuring the Patriot Guard Motorcyclists will leave Gibbon at 1 p.m. Tuesday and follow U.S. Highway 30 west from Gibbon to Kearney’s Second Avenue. The parade will proceed north to 56th Street and turn east for the final leg on 56th Street to the Veterans’ Home.

Although the replica is a scaled down version of the actual monument in Washington, D.C., etched on its sides are the names of 56,000 service men and women who died as a result of service to their country. Many made the ultimate sacrifice in the Vietnam War. The United States fought in that war from 1965-1975.

Denny Houska, a Vietnam veteran who helped organize the Kearney appearance of The Wall That Heals, said Kearney is fortunate to have secured the monument. It will be displayed 24 hours per day, and its visit coincides with the 37th reunion of the Nebraska Vietnam Veterans.

Houska said the ’round the clock appearance is for the benefit of veterans whose scars prevent them from approaching the monument during daylight. Volunteer hosts are needed to welcome and assist visitors at the wall and to assist with tear down. Melinda Haag, the volunteer coordinator, can be reached at 308-379-8840.

Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall

The last time the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall was in Kearney was July 2011 at The Archway.

Interested individuals can contact Melinda Haag, the volunteer coordinator, by email at BalloonGirl83@gmail.com or by phone at 308-379-8840. The volunteer registration page is at signup.com/go/vSkBRPe.

Houska said he and other organizers are hoping the replica wall will be a unifying and meaningful attraction during the gathering of Nebraska’s Vietnam War veterans who will gather at the Younes Conference Center.

It’s estimated 7,500 to 10,000 people will view the wall during its Kearney stop. Included with the wall’s appearance will be an educational multi-media component. There will be professionally guided educational tours, “Hometown Heroes” and a program titled, “In Memory.”

The 53-foot trailer that carries The Wall That Heals transforms into a mobile education center. The trailer’s exterior features a timeline of “The War and The Wall” and provides additional information about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Additional exhibits give visitors a better understanding of the legacy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the collection of items left at the wall.

Houska said making The Wall That Heals available to veterans and their families is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“We owe our veterans everything,” he said.

More information about the 37th Vietnam Veterans Reunion and The Wall That Heals is available at VetsReunion.com; PatsBuzz@gmail.com and 308-233-1612.

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