PALMDALE – The Mobile Vietnam Memorial Wall (AV Wall) is on display through Nov. 13 at the Palmdale Amphitheater, located at 2723 Rancho Vista Blvd.
Presented by the city of Palmdale, the AV Wall Committee, and Point Man Antelope Valley, the monument is open to the public 24 hours a day and admission is free. The theme of the display is “About The Wall – Facts & Faces,” and it provides visitors a chance to learn facts about the stunning memorial and see the faces of those whose names are engraved on The Wall.
Since 2009, the presentation of the AV Wall at the Palmdale Amphitheater has been a hallmark event surrounding the Veterans Day holiday in the Antelope Valley. The memorial draws thousands of visitors and pays tribute to the 58,000-plus Americans who never came home from the Vietnam War.
AV Wall events
A Veterans Day Ceremony will take place on Nov. 11, starting at 11 a.m. The theme of the ceremony is “Gratitude to our Veterans.” All non-veteran attendees are encouraged to gather at 10:30 a.m. to form a “Gratitude Tunnel of Love” at each entrance to greet and thank the veterans as they enter the ceremony area.
“Veterans Day is set aside to honor and thank those living men and women who served in the armed forces,” said AV Wall Committee Volunteer Coordinator Stacia Nemeth. “It is important that we express our sincere appreciation to our veterans, especially on Veterans Day.”
Scouts, Community Queens, and JROTC Cadets will present homemade thank you cards, and the front rows of seating will be reserved for veterans. The ceremony also will include a joint high school JROTC Color Guard, with patriotic music performed by The Air National Guard Band of the West Coast’s Guardian Brass. The National Anthem will be sung by the youthful trio of Joel Coder, Sadie Gibson, and Cooper Ogden. Guest speakers will include Bombshell Bonnie and Bella Donna of Bombshell Betty’s Calendar for Charity and Steve Willis, Logistics Coordinator of The AV Wall Committee. Joe Ramos, U.S. Army (Ret.), Senior Advisor and Outreach Specialist of the U.S.A. Vietnam War Commemoration, is making a special appearance. Special 50th Commemorative Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pins will be presented to every Vietnam veteran in attendance. The ceremony will close with the traditional singing of The Armed Forces Medley.
A Candlelight Ceremony will take place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12. This somber ceremony will include a Table of Honor Ceremony recognizing POW/MIA military members. Attendees will place candles near the AV Wall as the names of the “AV76” are read. The “AV76” are the 76 men from the Antelope Valley who died in military service during the Vietnam War. Taps will be played immediately following the ceremony.
Taps will be played nightly at 9 p.m. while the AV Wall is on display.
“A key component of our mission is to educate our visitors about the Vietnam War as well as The AV Wall,” said Linda Willis, AV Wall Secretary.
“Did You Know” signs and information sheets will be available to guests so they can understand the importance of the Memorial’s design as well as learn interesting facts about the Vietnam War. A video slide show highlighting the AV76 will be showing throughout the display.
“We must never forget those who died in war,” said AV Wall Committee President Mike Bertell, an Army Vietnam Veteran. “Speaking the names and seeing the pictures of the fallen helps with personal healing and honoring the fallen.”
For more information, visit www.avwall.org.
About the AV Wall
The Antelope Valley’s Mobile Vietnam Memorial Wall is a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial black granite wall on the Washington Mall. Its caretaker is Point Man Antelope Valley, an organization that works tirelessly to take the Wall throughout Southern California with the mission of educating, inspiring, and healing all who visit the memorial. The five-day display at the Palmdale Amphitheater is staffed completely by volunteers, veterans, local service organizations and others.
The AV Wall was designed and fabricated by Signs and Designs, Inc. of Palmdale. From 2005 through 2009, over $100,000 was raised locally to build the wall. It was dedicated at a ceremony at Joe Davies Heritage Airpark at Palmdale Plant 42 on Nov. 13, 2009. This year marks the 13th anniversary of the Wall’s existence.