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Memorial Day Weekend ceremonies include unveiling and dedicating Vietnam Memorial replica in Allen County

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO):The Veterans National Memorial Shrine and Museum will officially dedicate the permanent Vietnam Wall on Saturday May 29 at 2122 O’Day Road. Ceremony is set to begin at 11am.

This 80% replica of the original wall in Washington DC was started back in November of last year. The structure is 360 feet in length and 8 ft high at its tallest point. The base and walls are made of solid concrete and the anodized aluminum

panels are attached to the face of the wall. These 72 panels in total contain the 58,320 names of fallen heroes of the Vietnam War. There is an 8ft wide concrete sidewalk that runs continuously in front of the structure.

The ceremony will start-off with the flag raising by the Honor Guard from Wayne High School JROTC, Civil Air Patrol Fort Wayne Composite Squadron GLR 201.There are nine flags that will fly above the wall that are lit at night with solar lighting. The program will feature the national anthem performed by Angi Newkirk, prayer by Chaplin Marc Tjaden and Bagpipers from the Mizpah Shrine playing “Amazing Grace.”

The program will feature speakers who were instrumental in coordinating the construction and funding to build the structure and completion of the new parking facilities surrounding the memorial grounds.

Order of the speakers are as follows;

Mark Hagerman- Chairman Emeritus Hagerman Group

Doug McKibben- President and CEO of Glenbrook Automotive Group

Nelson Peters- Allen County Commissioner

Urban Ley- Superintendent of Crosby Excavating

TAPS will be performed by Victor Alvarez and following will be the unveiling of the wall to the public. The American Legion Band of Fort Wayne will perform from Noon – 1 pm.

The American Huey 369 Organization from Peru, In will have two Vietnam Huey UH-1H Helicopters at the memorial for the weekend. One will actually be giving rides for a donation to join their American Huey History Museum for $100.

Vietnam Re-enactors will also be on the property for both days. There will be entertainment on Saturday by “Big D and the Penetrators” from 3pm to 6pm and Sunday from 1pm to 3pm by “Todd Allen Herendeen.”

AccuTemp Products Inc. will be serving food Saturday and Sunday, For just $10,you can purchase either a “Liberty Dog” or a “Freedom Cheeseburger” with potato salad, chips and a drink. All proceeds go to the Veterans Shrine and Museum. The Veterans Shrine will also be selling souvenirs and gifts of the Vietnam Wall.

Parking will be at a premium so the Shrine has made arrangements for people attending the dedication ceremonies to park at BAE Systems parking lot across from Sweetwater off U.S. 30. Shuttle buses will take you to and from the ceremonies both days. There will be signs posted all around the area. There is no charge for the event or parking, The museum will be open all Memorial weekend.

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