Groups asked to reserve viewing times at Moving Wall

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:14

    Jefferson Township-The Moving Wall, a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be on display 24 hours a day in Jefferson Township beginning on Thursday, Sept. 23 — 28 at the Morris County SnoBowl site on Weldon Road adjacent to the Jefferson Township Middle School. Jefferson is the only New Jersey community to host The Moving Wall in 2004. Because of the hundreds if not thousands of people expected to view this memorial, it is asked that veterans organizations, school groups, civic organizations, and other large groups schedule a group visit by calling 973-208-3634. This special telephone line will be active 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and callers should leave their names along with daytime and evening telephone numbers, the name of the group or organization, and the number of people expected to attend. John Focacci of the Jefferson Township Bicentennial Committee will set up a mutually convenient time and date. The Moving Wall was created in 1982 after Vietnam Combat Veteran John Devitt visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. He was so moved by the encounter that he vowed to share that experience with those who did not have the opportunity to go to Washington by creating a smaller version that could travel around the country. Devitt returned to his home in California, and with the help of two Navy friends, Norris Shears and Gerry Haver, along with a contribution from the San Jose City Council, constructed the first, half-size mobile replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. On Oct. 15, 1984, the half-size replica was displayed for the first time in Tyler, Texas at the Rose Festival. When it evoked the same emotions there as were witnessed in the nation's Capitol, the California vets knew they had touched America's heart. The name Moving Wall has a double meaning: It is moving to view, and it is mobile. Over the past 20 years, wall has visited more than 900 communities throughout the United States as well as Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Mariana Islands. The memorial is 250 feet long and is engraved with the names of the 58,234 men and women who died in the Vietnam War or who are considered Prisoners of War or still Missing in Action as of Jan. 1. Visiting the Wall can be very emotional for many people; but the intention is to help close old wounds, not to open them and to educate the public about the war in Vietnam and its impact on our nation and our veterans. As there is no government involvement in The Moving Wall exhibit, its display and maintenance is run entirely on donations. It is never displayed at fundraisers, carnival-type events, or any location where profits are an objective. Volunteers will help with the construction of a platform to support the massive structure; and landscape designers and florists will be asked to volunteer their services to line each end of The Moving Wall with shrubs, small trees, and flowers to add to the beauty and simplicity of the display. Other volunteers will assist visitors during the display locate the names of the veterans whose names appear on The Moving Wall by using the Directory of Names that will be provided both in print and on a computer program. The Bicentennial Committee hopes that The Moving Wall will be a true community project n one that embodies the spirit of sharing and giving. At each site it visits, the memorial draws thousands of visitors who come to remember family and friends who lost their lives while serving their country. Many families will visit with their young children to teach them about the sacrifices made to secure the freedom that those living in the United States enjoy. Students will come from schools to see first hand what they have learned in history class, and members of veterans' organizations will come to honor their fallen comrades. After visiting The Moving Wall, Vietnam veteran Gerry Stegmaier wrote, "The Wall is solid, its granite face designed to resist the elements for all time. Yet, as visitors touch its surface, The Wall becomes almost fluid. Small ripples of hope and healing spread ever outwards. Like the concentric circles created when a stone is tossed into a pond, the impact of The Wall grows and grows." For more information, visit the following websites: The Moving, or