Highland News Leader

Patriotic weekend planned in Troy

Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall will be open for viewing 24/7, beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 9 until 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11 at Tri-Township Park in Troy.
Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall will be open for viewing 24/7, beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 9 until 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11 at Tri-Township Park in Troy. Courtesy photo

This weekend will be a time for education, honor and reflection as Troy VFW Post 976 and the city of Troy will host a Vietnam Wall Experience.

“We do this event in honor of those whose names appear on the Wall and in respect for those who carry the physical and emotional wounds from serving in the Vietnam Conflict. My hope is that visiting the Wall and the other display will provide some measure of healing for our veterans and their loved ones,” said event co-chairman Roger Alons.

The Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall will arrive at the park at approximately 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 7, escorted by the Patriot Guard and other supporting motorcyclists. The escort will meet at Donnewald Distributors in Greenville, departing there at 3 p.m. They will follow U.S. Highway 40 through Greenville, Pocahontas, Highland, St. Jacob before coming to Troy, where the wall will be displayed in the center of Tri-Township Park. The public is welcome to ride with the escort. Each community is invited to place American flags along the escort route. (The escort is expected to reach Highland around 3:30 and will detour off U.S. 40 onto Veterans Honor Parkway, then down Broadway, before returning to U.S. 40 via Hemlock.)

The Troy Vietnam Wall Experience is in recognition of the veterans who selflessly serve our country and to help all of us better understand, “Why We Remember.

Guideon Richeson, event co-chairman

Thursday, Sept. 8 will be a work day to set up the wall and other displays. Volunteers are needed, beginning at 7 a.m. and throughout the entire day.

The wall and other displays will be open to the public at 9 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, with the opening ceremony set for 7 p.m. Friday’s speaker will be retired Chief Master Sgt. Charles Kempker, who lost a brother in Vietnam. The Scott Air Force Base Brass Quintet will provide the entertainment.

The public is invited to attend a special candle-lighting ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall at 9 p.m. on Friday. The ceremony will be a time to remember and honor veterans through a blessing for their commitment and service, music honoring the nation, and reflective readings for the lives lost while serving the country. Ceremony participants will include Troy Mayor Allen Adomite, Elizabeth LaKamp and Guideon Richeson. Candles will be provided. Seating is available, but bringing a lawn chair is encouraged.

Saturday evening’s ceremony will be at 7 p.m. The speaker will be Joe Frank, a decorated Vietnam veteran who sustained injuries resulting in paraplegia. Frank has dedicated his life to public service and advocating on behalf of people with disabilities and veterans. Entertainment on Saturday will be provided by Triad High School choir and band.

The closing ceremony, set to start at 1 p.m. on Sunday, will include speaker Gary Sigler, a decorated Vietnam veteran and POW. Troy Community Band and area church choirs will provide entertainment.

My hope is that visiting the Wall and the other display will provide some measure of healing for our veterans and their loved ones.

Roger Alons, event co-chairman

The Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall will be open for viewing 24/7, beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday until 3 p.m. on Sunday.

“2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam Conflict. The Troy Vietnam Wall Experience is in recognition of the veterans who selflessly serve our country and to help all of us better understand, ‘Why We Remember,’ ” said co-chairman Guideon Richeson.

War Dogs Memorial Wall

For centuries, war dogs have played vital roles on the battlefields. Roughly 4,000 dogs served in Vietnam, leading patrols with their handlers through dense jungle terrain. Overall, they are credited with saving more than 10,000 lives. The Army, Marines, Air Force and Navy used war dogs in Vietnam. In the past 60 years, more than 30,000 canines have loyally served this county, saving untold Americans in battle.

Visitors will have an opportunity learn about their service when they view the War Dogs Memorial Wall and visit with Johnny Mayo, a scout dog handler, who served with the 39th Scout Dog Platoon, 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam.

“I returned home to my family because of the abilities of two dogs,” Mayo said. “I will never forget the bond we shared and the gratitude and love in my heart for my war dogs, Tiger and Kelly. A person will have several animal companions in a lifetime that are special, but rarely can we say that our dogs saved our lives numerous times.”

Agent Orange Quilt of Tears

Agent Orange Victims & Widows Support Network from Davenport, Fla., will display 35 quilts containing blocks honoring Vietnam veterans who were impacted by the Agent Orange chemicals.

We hope the Wall and other displays will convey the respect and admiration we feel for those that serve and their families that support them.

Jean Myers, event committee member

Do you have a loved one who has experience difficulties related to Agent Orange? You may honor them by contributing your own quilt block to be added to this display. Quilt blocks will be accepted throughout the weekend at the display. For information on constructing a block, visit agentorangequiltoftears.com. Blocks may also be mailed to Agent Orange Victims & Widows Support Network Inc., P.O. Box 90, Davenport, FL 33836.

Other displays

All other displays will be open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Other displays will include the Patriot Guard Moving Wall for all Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts; Vietnam Huey helicopter, “The Sound of Hope”; a POW/MIA Hot Air Balloon, “Freedom Flight”; Vietnam memorabilia through the eyes of Vietnam veteran John Hosier; and a 50-state flag display.

“Each and every veteran has a personal experience that has shaped their lives. We hope the Wall and other displays will convey the respect and admiration we feel for those that serve and their families that support them,” said event committee member Jean Myers.

Bradley R. Smith Memorial Scholarship 5K Run/Walk

The seventh annual Bradley R. Smith Memorial Scholarship 5K Run/Walk has been set for Sept. 10. The run will be held at the Troy Tri-Township Park in Troy and will begin at 8 a.m.

This run/walk event is to honor a local fallen hero, Senior Airman Bradley R. Smith of Troy, who served in the United States Air Force from 2006 until making the ultimate sacrifice for his country in Afghanistan 2010. To honor Airman Smith’s legacy, this memorial 5K run/walk raises money for the Bradley R. Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund. Throughout the history of the 5K run/walk, $184,500 in scholarships have been awarded to area students in memory of Smith.

The Bradley R. Smith Memorial Scholarship 5K Run/Walk is open to all ages, and registration is open now. Registration $30. Registration can also be done on race day.

For more information on the race or to register, visit runforbrad.org.

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