Published on July 11, 2022
People Flocked to the Site Over Five Days to Pay Tribute to Vietnam Veterans
UPDATED: More than 5,000 residents of Morris County and beyond visited “The Moving Wall” Vietnam Veterans Memorial by the time closing ceremonies were held this morning at the County College of Morris.
“The Moving Wall,” which is a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., began attracting visitors as soon as it arrived on Thursday, July 7, escorted by a motorcycle motorcade. The VFW Post 7333 of Randolph sponsored the event, and held ceremonies yesterday to thank supporters and volunteers who made the five-day event a success, wrapping up with honors for all Vietnam veterans and the military personnel that made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation.
“So here we are today, we want to say God Bless you, we love you, we will never forget you,” said William Menzel, a Vietnam veteran and project leader for VFW Post 7333, at the close of today’s ceremony.
VFW Post 7333 displayed a register indicating nearly 5,000 visitors signed their names as they entered the grounds of The Moving Wall. However, Menzel noted the wall was open 24 hours each day, and that the register was open only 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Hundreds of additional visitors came to the wall before and after the official visitation and many more did not sign the register.
Visitation was free, and many did not sign the ledger. The weekend was marked by several ceremonies, including proclamations honoring the visiting memorial being read times by federal, state, county and local officials.
The New Jersey State Police conducted a fly-over with a helicopter on Saturday as dozens of veteran organizations and government agencies presented wreaths to honor The Moving Wall and veterans.
Visitors sought out the names of loved-ones lost in the conflict, many of them making “rubbings” with crayon and paper, as others left mementos at the wall. The artifacts are being left with the VFW Post 7333.
The Moving Wall was brought into Morris County purely with donated resources and funds.
The Moving Wall was constructed after John Devitt, a Vietnam veteran, attended the 1982 dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. He said at the time that he felt its power and vowed to share that experience with those who might not have the opportunity to visit it.
DeVitt, Norris Shears, Gerry Haver and other Vietnam veteran volunteers built The Moving Wall. Two were eventually constructed, and they have traveled the nation since 1984.