More than 52,200 names of American killed or who are still missing adorn the black granite walls of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The Oceana County Department of Veteran’s Affairs is bringing the traveling Vietnam memorial to Hart on July 8-12 at the Oceana County Fairgrounds in Hart.
“We’re excited to have this project coming to our community,” said Gina Mead, community relations for the Ocean County Veteran Affairs Committee. “We are so very privileged to be ably to offer this to our veterans and community and surrounding communities.”
Mead, who rode in the escort for the traveling wall when in came to Ludington in 2014, was excited to begin discussing plans to bring the wall to Oceana County. Plans have been in the works since September, according to Mead.
“This is an event which we thought would be great for our community,” she said. “We will also be emphasizing veterans support services, making it a point to have several services offered during the event.”
Mead is hoping that area veterans will come out and take advantage of the services offered whether at the event or through the veterans affairs office, which is located at 844 S. Griswold St. in Hart.
The traveling wall is the largest replica of the wall at 360 feet long an at its tallest point is 8 feet tall, it is 80 percent the size of the memorial in D.C.
Mead said the wall is coming to this community, but the more citizens that come out from all over the area, state and country to honor the sacrifice of those individuals and be here to be a part of the wall, would be a great thing.
“We would be so thrilled to be able to host everyone,” Mead said. “We do not see where there is a ceiling on this. As many people that want to come out and be a part of this event is what we are looking for.”
The veteran response to the wall has been great, according to Mead.
“We have had so much support for local veterans,” she said. “We have had local veterans organizations that have come on board. A lot of our communities are becoming a Vietnam-era community, and we want to make sure that they feel they are welcomed and finally get that ‘thank you’ that they may have not gotten all those years ago.”
Mead said the committee is looking for volunteers prior and during the event.
“We want anybody that’s willing and wants to be a part of this to feel like they are defiantly a part of this and have an opportunity to be a part of this,” Mead said.
Mead said there is still a lot of details to work through in the months to come.
“We are trying the honor the sacrifices of so many,” Mead said.