Saugerties will host Vietnam Traveling Memorial wall

The Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C. The traveling version is a 3/5 size replica. (Photo by Brian Hollander)

At the behest of county executive Mike Hein, the Vietnam Travelling War Memorial will be displayed at Cantine Veteran’s Memorial Complex between July 18 and 23 in the coming year. The three-fifths-size replica of the Vietnam War Memorial situated on the National Mall in Washington DC has toured towns and cities throughout the country. In 1984, it was cast in aluminum by John Devitt and other volunteering veterans who vowed to share their sobering experience of the full-sized memorial with those who did not have the ability to visit the site in Washington.

“I served in Vietnam and saw members of my unit, my friends, killed in action.  Even though it was so long ago I still think of them,” said Robert Black of the Tillson American Legion Post 1219. “I have always wanted to visit the national Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. to see their names listed but have never had the opportunity. Now I will get the chance to see my friends’ names on the wall, and that will finally give me a sense of closure.”

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Also called “The Wall That Heals,” the replica is six feet tall at its apex and 300 feet long. It’s inscribed with the same roster of 58,318 war casualties as the original structure, and it’s laid out in the same characteristic chevron spread.

“I cannot think of a better place in Ulster County or for that matter the Hudson Valley to display, honor and recognize the ultimate sacrifice of our nation’s Vietnam War veterans than Cantine Veterans Memorial Complex,” said Frank Reggero, American Legion Post 72 commander. “Lamouree-Hackett American Legion Post 72 and my hometown of Saugerties are honored to have been selected to host this most sacred wartime veterans’ memorial.  On behalf of our members, we welcome all those who wish pay tribute and thank the Ulster County executive, the Town of Saugerties, and those who have made this possible.”

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 2.7 million servicemen and women served during the war before it formally ended on April 30, 1975, 2.7 million American servicemen and women served during the war.

“Ulster County will never forget our veterans,” said Hein.  “Bringing The Vietnam Travelling Memorial Wall to Ulster County is a small gesture of gratitude and respect for our veterans, many of whom have friends whose names appear on the wall. I invite all of our residents to join me in July at what will undoubtedly be a deeply moving and emotional experience.”

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