PALMDALE – In celebration of the 35th anniversary of the original Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C, the City of Palmdale and Point Man Antelope Valley will host the Antelope Valley’s Mobile Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall (AV Wall) from Wednesday, Nov. 8 to Monday, Nov. 13, at the Palmdale Amphitheater, located at 2723 Rancho Vista Blvd.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. was dedicated Nov. 13, 1982, with an estimated 150,000 taking part in the ceremonies, including President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan.
This year’s presentation of the AV Wall will run from 5 p.m. on Nov. 8 until 8 a.m. Nov. 13. The monument is open to the public around the clock during the display period. Admission is free.
The Veterans Day ceremony is planned for 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11. It will include a musical salute provided by the Guardian Brass, the Air National Guard Band of the West Coast. The keynote speaker will be Cold War veteran and Iraq War “embed” journalist Dennis Anderson. As a reporter for United Press International, Anderson covered the dedication of the Vietnam War Memorial in 1982.
A Candlelight Memorial Walk will take place at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11.
Taps will be played nightly at 10 p.m.
At 252 feet, the AV Wall is slightly more than half the length of the Washington wall. With 58,318 names of the American servicemen and women killed during the Vietnam War, the AV Wall is the nation’s most accurate tribute wall to the national memorial.
More than $102,000 for construction of the AV Wall was raised in a grass roots effort completed in 2009, with the largest contribution coming from school children during a “Pennies for Soldiers” fundraising drive. The Point Man Antelope Valley organization, a veterans talking and peer counseling group, was designated the “Guardians of the Wall.”
“It’s not our wall,” said Pointman Outpost Leader and Vietnam veteran Mike Bertell. “We are the guardians, but it’s everyone’s wall. Most walls keep people out. This wall brings people together.”
Sponsors include Signs and Designs, which constructed the wall and engraved the names; the City of Palmdale, Hunter Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, Hilton Garden Inn, and Green Valley Nursery.
For more information, visit www.AVWALL.org or call 661-524-6408.
[Information via news release from the city of Palmdale.]