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Stolen trailer with Vietnam War memorial is recovered in Detroit

By ANN ZANIEWSKI | Detroit Free Press | Published: December 27, 2018

DETROIT (Tribune News Service) — A trailer containing a Vietnam War memorial that was stolen in Macomb County, Mich., has been found in Detroit, according to a group of very relieved veterans.

“We’re ecstatic that we’ve got the wall back. … It’s a little Christmas miracle for us,” said Steve Bago, president of Chapter 154 of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

The 16-foot trailer and the Ford F-250 truck that pulled it to events across Michigan went missing from the chapter’s headquarters in Clinton Township earlier this week, Bago and other chapter members said.

The memorial is composed of five large panels embossed with the names of the 2,654 Michigan residents who died serving in the Vietnam War. It was created in 2005 in preparation for a military air show at Selfridge Air National Guard Base and then given to Chapter 154.

For the past several years, members have volunteered to take the memorial, which is 25 feet long when assembled, to car shows, military tributes and various community events. They often meet relatives of the people whose names are on it.

“It’s (an) absolute honor to take this around. … They paid the ultimate sacrifice, and we don’t ever want them to be forgotten,” Mike Schneider, chairman of the Michigan Vietnam Veteran Traveling Memorial and secretary of Chapter 154, said.

Chapter members were heartsick when they realized the truck and trailer were missing. Schneider said he believes it was stolen sometime between Sunday and Monday from outside the chapter’s Veteran’s Support Center on 15 Mile Road in Clinton Township.

The theft was reported to Clinton Township police Wednesday morning, Bago said.

Later that day, Bago got exciting news: The trailer had been found in Detroit, near Iroquois and Canfield on the city’s east side. He and Schneider said the trailer is being held at a tow lot in Detroit; chapter members plan to retrieve it Thursday.

A Detroit police spokeswoman was unable late Wednesday to confirm details of what happened.

All that seemed to be missing from the trailer was a microwave and generator, Schneider said.

The pickup truck hasn’t been found.

“The important part was in the trailer,” Bago said, “not the truck.”

azaniewski@freepress.com

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