American Veterans Traveling Tribute Vietnam Wall coming to Lindbergh campus

The American Veterans Traveling Tribute, or AVTT, Vietnam Wall will find a home from June 13 to June 16 on the campus of Lindbergh High School, 5000 S. Lindbergh Blvd., largely due to the efforts of the Sunset Hills Historical Society, many business and civic organizations and with a big assist from local veterans groups.

“The Traveling Wall” has made stops across the nation and serves to educate, to inspire and to provide a place for healing for all those who visit, according to a news release. The Wall is an 80-percent scale model of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., which honors U.S. service members and the U.S. armed forces who died or who were missing in action in the service of their country. More than 58,000 names are etched into the memorial wall.

Vietnam veterans have played a key role in the project for a transportable version of the wall, so that those who cannot travel to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., can see what the memorial is all about and touch the names of friends or loved ones from the Vietnam War era.

The June event for St. Louis is known as the Show-Me Hero Salute. A broad-based committee hosting the event began meeting in January with the intention to present a dignified local memorial that will be respectful for those who served and returned as well as those who served and didn’t come home.

“Our Show-Me Hero Salute committee has grown in size with every week since its start in January. We are genuinely gratified by the number of civic and veterans groups who have eagerly joined in this effort to show our Vietnam veterans and all veterans that they are never forgotten and they are always appreciated,” Sunset Hills resident Morris L. “Butch” Thomas, who is chairing the event, stated in the release.

“Every day the Wall is here will be memorable, beginning Wednesday, June 12, when the wall arrives and an escort motorcade travels through Crestwood on Watson Road,” Thomas stated. “Then it will travel down South Lindbergh to the high school where there will be a cannon volley welcome. On Thursday, there will be music and a patriotic program and many notables including local mayors, county officials, legislators and leaders in state government.”

The Show-Me Hero Salute organizers will provide more details on the multi-day American Veterans Traveling Tribute events as they become available. The daily programs will be short, as the major function of the wall will be to create a solemn, reverent and meditative site.

Chaplains will be available for visitors as needed. St. Anthony’s Medical Center will provide a first-aid facility on site. Computers will be available and assistance given to help visitors to the scale-model memorial locate the names of their loved ones on the various panels of the Wall.

The Show-Me Hero Salute will have listed hours of operation daily, but the wall will be available for visitation 24 hours a day until the closing ceremony ends at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 16.

Two generations ago, America found itself embroiled in the “hottest war” of the Cold War era in Southeast Asia. The Vietnam Wall documents the American loss of life in a war that is generally recorded as lasting from 1959 through the fall of Saigon in 1975. This year marks a series of 50th anniversaries in the intensification of the war and an increase in America’s presence in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.