PALMDALE – The City of Palmdale, the AV Wall Committee, and Point Man Antelope Valley will host the Mobile Vietnam Memorial Wall (AV Wall) 24 hours per day from 5 p.m., Nov. 9 through Nov. 13 at the Palmdale Amphitheater, located at 2723 Rancho Vista Blvd.
Since 2009, the presentation of the Mobile Vietnam Memorial Wall at the Palmdale Amphitheater has been a hallmark event surrounding the Veterans Day holiday in the Antelope Valley. The AV Wall memorial draws thousands of visitors coming to show their gratitude and reverence for the 58,000-plus Americans who never came home from the Vietnam War.
The monument is open to the public 24 hours a day during the display period. Admission is free. The theme of the display is “About The Wall – Facts & Faces” and will provide visitors a chance to learn facts about the stunning memorial and see the faces of those whose names are engraved on The Wall.
In its more than a dozen years of presentation across Southern California, more than 100,000 people have been able to take in the AV Wall's viewing experience, a history lesson written with the names of all who sacrificed everything they had in defense of America's freedoms. While in Palmdale, there will be several activities and events.
On Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 9 a.m., a motorcycle escort will travel from LifeStorage, 380 West Palmdale Blvd., to the Amphitheater. Details on the exact route will be available at www.avwall.org.
As is tradition, the Veterans Day Ceremony will take place on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. The theme of the ceremony is “Gratitude to our Veterans.”
“Veterans Day is set aside to honor and thank those living men and women who served in the armed forces,” said AV Wall Committee Volunteer Coordinator Stacia Nemeth. “It is important that we express our sincere appreciation to our veterans especially on Veterans Day.”
All non-veteran attendees are encouraged to gather at 10:30 a.m. to form a “Gratitude Tunnel of Love” at each entrance to greet and thank the veterans as they enter the ceremony area. Scouts, Community Queens, and JROTC Cadets will present homemade thank you cards. The front rows of seating will be reserved for veterans. The Ceremony will include a joint high school JROTC Color Guard with patriotic music performed by The Air National Guard Band of the West Coast’s Guardian Brass. The National Anthem will be sung by the youthful trio of Joel Coder, Sadie Gibson, and Cooper Ogden. Guest speakers Bombshell Bonnie and Bella Donna of Bombshell Betty’s Calendar for Charity and Steve Willis, Logistics Coordinator of The AV Wall Committee, will share their stories of gratitude for veterans. Joe Ramos, U.S. Army (Ret.), Senior Advisor and Outreach Specialist of the U.S.A. Vietnam War Commemoration, is making a special appearance. 50th Commemorative Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pins will be presented to every Vietnam veteran in attendance. The ceremony will close with the traditional singing of The Armed Forces Medley.
The Candlelight Ceremony will take place at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12. This somber ceremony will include a Table of Honor Ceremony recognizing POW/MIA military members. Attendees will place candles near the Wall as the names of the “AV76” are read. The “AV76” are the 76 men from the Antelope Valley who died in military service during the Vietnam War. Taps will be played immediately following the ceremony.
Taps will be played nightly at 9 p.m. while the AV Wall is on display.
“A key component of our mission is to educate our visitors about the Vietnam War as well as The AV Wall”, said Linda Willis, AV Wall Secretary.
With that mission in mind, “Did You Know” signs and information sheets will be available to guests so they can understand the importance of the Memorial’s design as well as learn interesting facts about the Vietnam War.
A video slide show highlighting the AV76 will be showing throughout the display. “We must never forget those who died in war,” said AV Wall Committee President Mike Bertell, an Army Vietnam Veteran. “Speaking the names and seeing the pictures of the fallen helps with personal healing and honoring the fallen.”
For more information, visit www.avwall.org.
ABOUT THE AV WALL
The Antelope Valley's Mobile Vietnam Memorial Wall is a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial black granite wall on the Washington Mall that was designed by artist Maya Lin. It is affectionately known as The AV Wall, and its caretaker is Point Man Antelope Valley, and organization that works tirelessly to take the Wall throughout Southern California with the mission of educating, inspiring, and healing all who visit the memorial.
It is one of the rarest home-grown memorials of its kind in the nation and represents the Antelope Valley’s commitment to the men and women who served their country.
The five-day display at the Palmdale Amphitheater is staffed completely by volunteers, veterans, local service organizations and others. The volunteers attend an in-depth training so they can provide visitors with the best possible experience during their visit to the wall. Volunteers help look up names in the computer database, assist in locating the names on the wall, and provide information about the wall design and layout.
The AV Wall was designed and fabricated by Signs and Designs, Inc. of Palmdale. From 2005 through 2009, over $100,000 was raised locally to build the wall. It was dedicated at a ceremony at Joe Davies Heritage Airpark at Palmdale Plant 42 on Nov. 13, 2009. This year marks the 13th anniversary of the Wall’s existence.
The AV Wall has traveled across Southern California. It has been visited by thousands of men, women and children since its dedication and has provided education, healing and a gathering place for Vietnam Veterans to mourn and remember. A visit to the AV Wall offers a chance to show respect and honor those who lost their lives in Vietnam.
Most walls keep people out, this wall brings people together.
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