Thursday June 13, 2013

CHRIS MAYS

Brattleboro Reformer

WILMINGTON -- The Moving Wall, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will arrive in town on Friday, June 13, and be assembled by volunteers during the first couple hours of its arrival.

"If veterans in the area want to help, they can come and assist," said Wilmington Town Clerk Susie Haughwout, who arranged for the "Moving Wall" to come to town.

Others are welcome to assist with assembly, too. Oftentimes, veterans are most interested in setting it up, which usually takes about two to three hours. Afterwards, the replica will be displayed for the public.

"The Moving Wall" will be in Wilmington at Mount Snow’s Howe Farm Field off Route 100. Both Dover and Wilmington Selectboards have partially funded it.

The American Legion Nelson E. Pickwell Post No. 15, which represents both towns, is sponsoring the event. Members of the American Legion in Readsboro and Whitingham will also be in attendance.

The Living History Association will have volunteers encamped at the site, with artifacts from the Vietnam era, including a hospital tent. The organization will be providing security overnight with 20 or more guards at the site.

"The intent is to honor those who were in Vietnam, missing in action, in POW camps and provide the opportunity for any Vietnam veteran or anyone else to come and see the wall, especially if they haven’t been able to drive to Washington, D.C.," said Haughwout.

A dedication ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. on June 15. Retired Army Colonel Joseph L. Krawczyk Jr., who is also the Bennington Selectboard chairman, will be the keynote speaker.

"We’re exciting about having him," said Haughwout. She mentioned that he is well-known by Vermont Vietnam veterans as well as veterans in general.

Pastor of Wilmington Baptist Church and Jacksonville Community Church Doug LaPlante will also be at the ceremony.

Wendy Pratt assisted Haughwout with organizing the events. Both have been committed to honoring veterans, after watching the unfolding at the end of the Vietnam War.

"We’re really kids of the Vietnam era," said Haughwout. "We sweat it out with a lot of our friends waiting to get called out in the draft. Today, our military is by volunteer. We all remember living through the many controversies going on around the country."

From dawn to dusk, there will be volunteers on hand with promotional materials, which include a template for rubbings as well as contractor’s crayons. They can also assist people with finding names.

"The Moving Wall" will be open 24 hours each day. Vietnam veterans are known to visit it at night and they are welcome to do that. It will be dimly lit. Those who visit at night are encouraged to bring flashlights.

The replica will be taken down on Monday, June 17, at 4 p.m. The Howe Farm Field is located at 484 Vermont Route 100 North. It is three miles north of the stop light in the village of Wilmington, on the way to Dover, near the intersection of Coldbrook Road.