The city of Gladstone is celebrating its 125th birthday this 4th of July.
And a visit from the country’s largest traveling Vietnam veterans memorial is helping to mark the occasion.
Twenty volunteers needed two and a half hours to assemble the traveling Vietnam memorial wall at Van Cleve Park in Gladstone Tuesday.
A Texas group called the American Veterans Traveling Tribute brings the wall around the country.
One Delta County Vietnam veteran is thrilled that it’s here.
Bill Isetts returned home in 1968 from the Mekong Delta and says even with a great deal of healing taking place, many of his wartime experiences are quite fresh inside of him.
This is the first time this particular wall has visited the U.P. to help that healing process.
Other, smaller walls visited Bay College in Escanaba in 1988 and Manistique in 2008.
The moving wall is 360 feet long, making it an 80% scale version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.
Bill helped get several people’s names onto the national memorial, and he says he had a tear in his eye coming up the street to see the assembly of the replica.
He says while the memories of his war service are still painful sometimes, he can laugh about some of them, too, and he’s sure his old friends are with him in spirit.
Gladstone city officials want to thank the area people who’ve allowed it to be available for viewing at any hour of the day.
City Manager Darla Falcon says many residents and businesses have volunteered to take shifts securing the wall, since it needs to have at least two people present safeguarding it 24 hours a day.
The traveling wall will be at Van Cleve Park until 7 pm this Saturday as a visible reminder of the more than 58,000 American soldiers who died in Vietnam.
Posted by: Mike Hoey