Fishing club brings traveling Vietnam memorial to Indiana
Rober Lamb makes an etching of a friends name on the moving Vietnam Wall in Spencer, Ind., on Aug. 8, 2013. The friend's name is Zettie JC Dulin, and Lamb also has a cousin on the wall, Gary Rose. The members of the Owen County 4-H Fishing Club raised $9,000 to bring the Vietnam Veterans Memorial's Moving Wall to Spencer. They also built a foundation at the Owen County 4-H Fairgrounds from 100 2-by-4 boards to support the structure, which extends the length of a football field and features the names of 58,272 Americans who died in the Vietnam War. (AP Photo/Bloomington Herald-Times, Jeremy Hogan)
Herald-Times, Bloomington, Ind.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — It was members of the Owen County 4-H Fishing Club who raised the $9,000 to bring the Vietnam Veterans Memorial’s Moving Wall to Spencer.
They also built a foundation at the Owen County 4-H Fairgrounds from 100 2-by-4 boards to support the structure, which extends the length of a football field and features the names of 58,272 Americans who died in the Vietnam War.
Opening ceremonies, featuring a UH-1 Huey helicopter that flew four missions in Vietnam, were held Thursday evening. The closing ceremonies, with a prayer led by Vietnam War veteran Donald Jackson, are scheduled for noon Monday.
In between, the moving wall will be accessible to visitors 24 hours a day. The fairgrounds’ gate on East Jefferson Street will be open, and a guard will be posted at the wall, erected in the field where carnival rides were set up just a few weeks ago.
Kathy Newman Arthur and her late husband, Vietnam War veteran Bud Newman, oversaw the fishing club until his death in 2009. She’s now in charge, and the 60 kids in the 4-H group worked hard to raise money to bring the memorial to Spencer for people to view in Newman’s memory. They sold T-shirts, solicited businesses and worked odd jobs to raise the cash since receiving word in February their request for the moving wall had been granted.
Arthur said it’s important that the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans be remembered. As time passes, memories fade.
“When the Vietnam veterans came home, they were not treated right, and this is a way of all of us saying, ‘Thank you.’ It’s an awesome learning experience for those who never knew the impact of that war,” she said.
“When they see all of those names ... well, it means something.”
Among today’s visitors will be a group of preschoolers from a Spencer day care center. “I think when you see so many names, it is mind-boggling, even for a small child,” Arthur said.
Fishing club members helped out Thursday as the wall’s 70 panels were put together. They installed indoor-outdoor carpet, spread mulch and planted flowers to create a proper backdrop for the memorial wall, which is half the size of the permanent memorial in Washington, D.C.
The fishing club members will be there throughout the weekend, and until the closing ceremony concludes.
“I’ve got 10 high schoolers who will miss their first day of school Monday so they can be here,” Arthur said, standing by the wall just hours before U.S. Army Sgt. Sammy L. Davis, a Medal of Honor recipient, was to speak about its significance.