‘Moving Wall' group reservations urged

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:13

    JEFFERSON - The Moving Wall, a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be in Jefferson Township on display 24 hours a day beginning on Sept. 23-28 at the Morris County SnoBowl site on Weldon Road (adjacent to the Jefferson Township Middle School). Jack Kelly, chairman of the Jefferson Township Bicentennial Committee, was recently announced that Jefferson Township would be 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 the caller is asked to kindly leave a name along with a daytime and evening telephone number, the name of the group or organization, and the number of people anticipated to attend. John Focacci of the Jefferson Township Bicentennial Committee will promptly return calls to 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, D.C. He was so unexpectedly 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, they constructed the very first, half-size mobile replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. On October 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. When visitors noted that The Wall could be moved as well as being a moving experience, the name The Moving Wall was adopted for this mobile veterans memorial. Over the past 20 years, The Moving Wall has toured the entire United States. Viewing of this memorial n a 250-foot long structure 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) n will be an experience for everyone when it is displayed in Jefferson Township. Persons visit The Moving Wall for hundreds of different, personal reasons - some want to talk, some want to be left alone, some are merely curious. Every time The Moving Wall visits a town, thousands of visitors come to find a name or a few names that are very special to them.