Moving wall will bring visitors to De Soto, Chamber members told
De Soto can expect 10,000 visitors when the Moving Vietnam Wall Memorial comes to Miller Park this October, a state Veteran of Foreign Wars representative told De Soto Chamber of Commerce members last week.
The moving wall is a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., said Jeff Lawson, state junior vice commander. It was conceived by John Devitt, a former Army helicopter door gunner, after attending the dedication of the Washington memorial in 1982.
Lawson said the memorial's visit to De Soto would be its first to Johnson County. The local visit is sponsored by the Linden-Tripkos Memorial VFW Post 6654.
A number of activities are being planned in conjunction with the stay in Miller Park that will help build attendance, Lawson said.
The moving wall's stay in De Soto will begin with an opening ceremony at 9 a.m., Oct. 2. A different branch of service will be honored each day.
The memorial serves as an educational opportunity in addition to honoring servicemen killed in Vietnam, Lawson said. The VFW is working with the De Soto school district to develop a curriculum section on the war. Computers will be set up in tents with students helping individuals wanting to research material on the Vietnam War and find names on the wall, he said.
The closing ceremonies Oct. 8 will honor the war's POWs and MIAs, including five from the metropolitan area, Lawson said.
Local businesses and organizations can sponsor the visit and receive recognition on signs at the entrances, he said.
In other chamber news, Chamber President Pat Atchison said:
The De Soto citywide garage sale will be Saturday, Sept. 22. The chamber will have a booth and promote the event.
The chamber will hang two signs promoting residents to shop at home. The chamber is still discussing the signs location with the city.