ALBANY - Senator Catharine Young (R,I,C – Olean) and representatives from the Brocton American Legion, Post 434 today announced that the “The Moving Wall”, the nation’s official moving Vietnam Veterans Memorial, will be in Brocton from September 10th – 14th. The honored visit, sponsored by the Brocton American Legion, pays tribute to those veterans that returned from Vietnam.
“We are honored that The Moving Wall will visit our community and appreciate the efforts of Post 434 in bringing this very special experience to Brocton,” said Senator Young. “The memorial helps to bring healing to veterans, families and friends of those who died or are missing in Vietnam, especially those who may not have the opportunity to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC.”
“It is a great honor to be chosen to host the Moving Wall,” said David Travis, Chairman of The Moving Wall Committee. “It is our intent to present the Wall in such a way as to preserve the solemn nature of the memorial while providing an opportunity for our young people to learn more about this important part of our history and the great sacrifices made by our armed forces to preserve our freedoms.”
The Wall will be set up behind the Brocton American Legion Post on Main Street in Brocton and will be free to all and open to the public 24 hours a day. The Wall has been to Chautauqua County three other times, the last being in Mayville 13 years ago. Organizers expect between 40,000 and 70,000 people from across Western New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio to come to pay their respects.
“The whole process of bringing and presenting the Moving Wall has been a very heartwarming experience, seeing an entire community and surrounding area come together to make this project a reality,” said Henry Link, Commander of Post 434. “People from all over Chautauqua County and surrounding areas have stepped up and made this a truly special event.”
The Wall is the half-size replica of the Washington, DC Vietnam Veterans Memorial and has been touring the country for 25 years. It is made of aluminum panels, having a surface painted with a two-part polyurethane gloss black which gives a mirror-like finish, mounted to angular aluminum frames. The aluminum structure is supported from the back by 74 steel square tubular braces. It stands 6 feet high and 250 feet long, with 58,261 names engraved upon it.
Two structures of The Wall now travel the country from April through November, spending about a week at each site.
Senator Young, members of the Brocton American Legion, and other local officials will participate in a special ceremony scheduled for Saturday at 1:00 PM with the National Guard’s color guard and 42nd Division Band, who will also perform a Patriotic Concert from 5:00 – 7:00 PM. A retired general and a family member of a person on the wall will also participate in the festivities.
An opening ceremony is scheduled for 6 PM on Thursday and on Friday at 9 PM, the Vietnam Veterans of America will host a special candlelight ceremony. On Sunday at 5 PM, “Chautauqua Remembrance Day,” there will be a ceremony to honor the families and friends of the 49 causalities from Chautauqua County along with all those listed on the Wall.
The quest to bring the Moving Wall to Brocton began two and a half years ago when the special events committee of the Brocton American Legion Post 434 decided that it would be a fitting tribute to veterans. An official request went out shortly after and the Post was notified this past November that they were chosen to host the Wall this September.
"Some people, especially our veterans and the families of those who have fallen, will never make it to Washington to see the original wall,” said David Hazelton, Vice-Chairman of The Moving Wall Committee. “I hope those people can make it in September and give these hero’s the recognition that they have earned.”
For more information on the scheduled events and festivities, you can log onto the American Legion Post 434’s website at: http://www.broctonlegionpost434.com/. Additional information on the Wall’s history can be found on The Moving Wall’s official website at: http://www.themovingwall.org/.