The Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall will be on display at the Veterans Plaza of Northern Colorado May 23 through 27.
The travelling wall — only 20 percent smaller than the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. — is the largest reproduction of the landmark memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and carries the names of the 58,261 service members who died in the war. The Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall will be escorted into Fort Collins by the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association and erected on May 23. The wall, which will be guarded and lighted 24 hours a day, will be open for public viewing through May 27.
The display of the wall will be one of several events scheduled at the Veterans Plaza during the Memorial Day weekend:
• An authentic Vietnam era Huey Gunship will be on display at the Veterans Plaza May 23 through 27. The restored Huey is maintained by two U.S. military veterans, both Vietnam helicopter pilots. It has traveled the country and been displayed at events and museums.
• The Helicopter War Museum will be on location at the Veterans Plaza. The museum, mounted on a 44’ trailer, recounts the history of helicopters in the Vietnam War.
• The annual Memorial Day celebration will be held at noon on Saturday, May 25, and will include: Huey helicopter fly-over, music, food vendors, speakers, re-enactors in Vietnam-era uniforms, and vintage vehicles. Lt. Gen. John Thomas Myers, US Army retired, and current adjunct leadership instructor at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Tucson, Ariz. will be the keynote speaker.
• After the ceremony concludes, a “Ride of Honor” will be held at the wall beginning at 1:45 p.m. This stirring tradition involves motorcycle riders, many Vietnam veterans, riding by the wall in a line, as a tribute to the fallen whose names are on the wall. Several thousand riders are expected to participate.
• A Q&A with veterans will take place at the wall after Taps (around 7 p.m.) on Sunday, May 26.
• The Veterans Plaza will host a fundraiser on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27 at the Hideout Patio Bar and Grill, 1903 E. Lincoln Ave., Fort Collins. All veterans and members of the public are invited and money raised will go toward the cost of bringing the wall to the Veterans Plaza and for upkeep of the plaza.
Veterans Plaza of Northern Colorado is located at 2626 W. Horsetooth Rd., Fort Collins, at the far west end of Horsetooth Road, on the south end of Spring Canyon Community Park.
The Plaza consists of an amphitheater with seating for 500, a statue depicting a soldier holding a child, a stage, and a garden. The Victory Garden contains soils from around the globe, from theaters of battle served by our forces, locations where our troops have served, and cemeteries where fallen American service members lie. On the grounds of the Veterans Plaza are 80 trees, each one dedicated through a $1,000 donation to the service of a veteran or active duty service member.
Veterans Plaza serves to educate, inspire and commemorate.
Two natural rock walls feature flat-screen monitors with the names of veterans, selected biographies, and videos that serve to remind visitors of those who have made and currently are making sacrifices for our nation’s freedoms.
There is no charge to list a veteran at the plaza; only proof of honorable service in the US Armed Forces.
Donations are being accepted to pay for repairs to one of the computers, heavily damaged last summer by smoke and debris from the nearby High Park Fire. Sponsorships also are being accepted to offset the $15,000 cost to bring the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall to Fort Collins.
For more information about Veterans Plaza, to make a donation or sponsor the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall, or to download a form for recognition of a veteran, please visit www.veteransplazanoco.org.