Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall comes to West Palm Beach
As the July Fourth holiday approaches, an important reminder of the men and women who sacrificed for the nation rolled into South Florida on Wednesday.
"It's totally out of respect for those names on the wall and those who have paid the sacrifices for our freedom," said National President of American Gold Star Mothers Jo Ann Maitland, "and as mothers of the fallen and families of the fallen, we are here to honor the families of the fallen including our children."
The Vietnam Memorial in Washington stands solemnly on the National Mall. It honors the more than 58,000 soldiers who gave their lives in the jungles of Vietnam.
This mobile memorial helps connect Americans with the truth and loss of that conflict.
"They may not have had an opportunity to go to D.C. and see the Vietnam wall, so this is the exact replica of it that travels around, so that folks can see the names of folks they knew or ancestors who served in Vietnam," said Pat Elliot.
Elliot is helping with the set up in West Palm Beach. She knows the pain of losing a loved one. Her son died serving our nation.
"I lost my son Lucas in Iraq in 2011," Elliot said.
For the next few days, Elliot will find comfort here as the memorial stands in this parking lot. She and other American Gold Star Mothers will be inside the Hilton Palm Beach Airport hotel for their annual convention.
"This is our opportunity," Elliot said. "We get together and we say our children's name and we talk about our children, and that's what keeps them alive for us and the public."
The wall officially opens Thursday night in parking lot of the hotel.
It is free and open to the public and will be on display through the weekend.
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