Monumental memory

By HENRY LINK

Four years ago this month, many volunteers took the whole week as vacation to work on a project that was near and dear to their hearts. The preparation and organization for the arrival of The Moving Wall was as complete as we could make it. The lawn was mowed, the frame was in place, the walkways were down, and the flowers were beautiful. The last thing we needed was The Moving Wall itself.

About 3 in the afternoon of Sept. 9, 2009, several of us were taking a break and discussing what was left to do. The bar had plenty of workers and expectant people waiting for the next task. Someone asked when the Wall would get here. The female of a couple setting at the bar leaned over and said, “It is here.”

Surprised by her answer, a conversation was started.

They were Mr. and Mrs. John Devitt, the originator and tender of The Moving Wall who we were all waiting for. After some discussion we invited them to look at our preparations for the arrival. Dave Travis, Dave Hazelton and I took them on a tour of what our post and community had done to make our presentation of The Moving Wall the best presentation possible – the one with a “Wow” factor.

We were near the flagpole showing John Devitt our walkways and explaining how we expected the people to flow from one end to the other when from near the apex of the frame we heard a “Wow.”

Jan Devitt was standing in front of the flowers at the center and was just amazed at how beautiful our presentation was going to be. She came over and said this was the best presentation she had ever seen.

The rest is history.

Our mission was to:

Have the public visit and pay their respects. Somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 did.

Help with the healing of the Vietnam veterans. It did.

Educate the younger generation. Most school districts in the county sent busloads.

Mission accomplished. Thank you all.

Henry Link is past commander at American Legion Post 434.