Traveling wall memorial coming

Replica of Vietnam monument to be in Warren in August

WARREN — Veterans of the Vietnam War who have wanted to search the Vietnam Veterans Memorial for the names of their friends and fellow seamen, airmen and soldiers but haven’t made it to Washington, D.C., will have the chance to visit a replica of the wall this summer in Warren.

The 375-foot display will be open to the public on the south lawn at Packard Music Hall Aug. 15 to Aug. 19. Warren was one of 38 sites chosen to host the wall in 2018 out of more than 100 applications.

James Valesky, with the Warren Heritage Center, said he realized he needed to apply for a visit from the traveling wall at a 2017 Memorial Day ceremony in which veterans of World War II were called to stand to be recognized, but many were unable to do so.

“There are fewer and fewer every time,” Valesky said.

Veterans of the Vietnam War are aging too, Valesky said. Most are in their 70s, or 60s, and if they haven’t made it to the memorial, they likely have a desire to go, he said.

“They want closure. They have been unable to honor their friends,” Valesky said.

A committee is being formed to prepare for the display and will try to seek out photographs of local casualties of the war that the memorial does not have catalogued.

The committee also will seek out local stories to profile in the display, which will be open 24 hours per day and free to enter.

Viewing the “Wall that Heals” will be beneficial to local veterans, friends and family of the lost and the local young people who will learn about the war from the display, said Herm Breuer, director of Trumbull County Veteran Services.

The wall was in Trumbull County in 2001, but was not as large as it is now. This time, visitors will be permitted to make rubbings of the engravings on the wall.

Warren City officials and Trumbull County commissioners have pledged support for the event, which could draw visitors in not just from the tri-county area, but from other states, said Enzo Cantalamessa, Warren safety service director. The city will provide electricity and support for the operation.

Frank Fuda, Trumbull County commissioner, said the visit will be good for the county and its veterans.

“My brother, John, was in Vietnam. Luckily, he made it home, but his hearing was never the same. There was no friendly welcome home for these guys. And they lost a lot of friends,” Fuda said.