Mobile Vietnam War memorial wall coming to Sikeston

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

SIKESTON, Mo. -- The mobile Vietnam War memorial wall will make a return to Sikeston this summer after several years, the Sikeston Standard Democrat reported.

During the regular Sikeston City Council meeting Monday, Tom Austin announced that his attempt to book The Moving Wall here again as part of the city's sesquicentennial celebration was successful.

The traveling half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial by the Vietnam Combat Veterans has toured the country since 1984.

Viewing the Wall "is an emotional experience and it is an awesome sight," Austin said.

In 1991, The Moving Wall came to Sikeston's Rotary Park, Austin recalled. "We had it six days last time," he said. Based on the guest registry, there were an estimated 55,000 visits.

This time the Wall will be displayed for five days, according to Austin, from Sept. 9-13, the week after Labor Day, about 50 feet from where it was located in Rotary Park the first time.

Ten of the core members of the Fire Base Sikeston group, which worked to bring the Wall here last time, have been contacted by Austin so far to work on the project again, he said, and "the guys are chomping at the bit, ready to go."

Austin said they will seek panel sponsors with the goal of $100 for each of the Wall's 144 panels to cover the estimated costs of displaying the Wall.

The Sikeston Jaycees have volunteered to cover the $4,500 up-front costs of bringing the wall here, according to Austin. The Jaycees have also offered to supply work crews to assemble and disassemble the exhibit, erect signs on the two major highways passing through Sikeston and serve as tour group leaders.

Those interested in sponsoring a Wall panel can call Austin at 573-471-5518 or by mail at 7 Woodhaven Drive, Sikeston, Mo., 63801.

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