Memories draw visitors to The Wall

Bruce and Diane Camidge of Olive Branch, Miss., search for friends’ names on this touring replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Photo by Kevin Lewter.

A 360-foot-long exhibit known as The Vietnam Traveling Tribute, “The Wall,” was a major draw for last weekend’s Mid-South Military History & Civil War Show at the Agricenter Show Place Arena in Cordova.

The Wall was open to the public at no charge, 24/7. It contains the names of 58,272 deceased military veterans. (Click here for more information about the original Vietnam Veterans Wall memorial.)

“It was one of the most moving events I’ve been involved in,” said the show’s public relations and marketing coordinator, Lee Ann Robertson. “I can’t describe the emotions that were involved with The Wall and the people.”

She applied for the exhibit a few years ago and only learned in January 2016 that it would be available this year.

A full military escort and hundreds of motorcyclists accompanied The Wall as it was transported across the Mississippi River from Arkansas to the Agricenter on March 2.

An Arkansas group also escorted the exhibit from its last showing in Flint, Texas, across the state of Arkansas.

Volunteers erected The Wall on March 3, and there was an opening ceremony at noon March 4.
The show itself, held March 5-6, featured more than 200 dealers with items representing the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, WWI and WWII. Activities included a veterans tribute and ceremony, a lecture series by eight of the country’s top historians, and re-enactors performing demonstrations and firing hourly cannon shots.

Organizers are still tallying attendance but estimate it was in the thousands. “It was a steady stream all weekend long,” Robertson said.

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