On Thursday, November 9th, the American Legion Post #43, Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873, and Naperville Responds for Veterans held the opening ceremony of the Vietnam Wall of Remembrance in downtown Naperville. This year marks 50 years since the US Armed Forces officially departed Vietnam. The ceremony recognized the ultimate sacrifice of many during a divisive time in US history. Located at the Naperville Riverwalk’s Grand Pavilion, the Vietnam Wall of Remembrance is on display November 9-13. The wall illustrates the massive impact of the war in Vietnam, listing the names of the 58,000+ US army personnel whose lives were lost during the conflict.
Ceremony honors lives lost
The ceremony began with a welcome from Bob Bronson, the singing of the National Anthem performed by the Chorus of DuPage, a Lima-Lima fly-over, an invocation by Jim Oftedal, and the Pledge of Allegiance. Gold star families were then invited to place 12 yellow roses on the plaques of Naperville’s fallen while the Chorus of DuPage sang “Our Vets of ‘Nam”. Wayne Fischer of the American Legion Post 43 then took the podium to share the meaning behind the Vietnam Wall of Remembrance. Naperville Mayor Scott Wehrli then talked about the impact and importance of remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice, and took a moment to thank all of the veterans present at the ceremony for their service. Mayor Wehrli also thanked the Gold Star Families for attending, stating, “You live daily with the memory of your hero, and we are forever in debt to your family member’s service”. The audience took a moment to honor the fallen while the Naperville Honor Guard and Color Guard rendered their final rifle salute. Tom Brown then performed Amazing Grace on bagpipes, and all veterans were invited to face the wall to salute Naperville’s fallen heroes.
Vietnam Wall of Remembrance makes a big impact
The return of the wall commemorates the 50th anniversary of US troops leaving Vietnam. Approximately 233 feet in length, Blooming Color donated the panels and 84 Lumber donated the frame. Each night at 8:00 p.m. while the wall is on display, an Honor Guard will perform “Taps” and conduct a three-volley rifle salute. The wall stands for the themes of: comradeship, memories, families left behind, coming home, education, and remembering and honoring those who passed due to their service in Vietnam. The wall will act as backdrop to Naperville’s Veterans Day Program on Saturday, November 11th, and on November 13th a final closing ceremony will be held at 8 p.m.
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