The Wall That Heals Event Update

By Larry Morrison

Volunteer coordination meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 28, 6 p.m. 

Escorts for The Wall are still requested.

As I was preparing this article, I received a phone call from the administrative assistant to Dr. Davis to confirm Dr. Davis will be attending the honors ceremony at The Wall on Saturday Sept. 22.  Dr. Davis will be sharing the podium with Governor Parsons as the keynote speakers at this event.  Both individuals will be available to meet visitors and have their picture taken.  Of course, protocol must be adhered to, for security reasons but everyone is invited to meet and greet them and pose for a picture.

Ava is very fortunate to have been selected by Washington DC to host The Wall.  We are even more excited and honored to have both Governor Parsons and Dr. Jerry Davis come to Ava as our guests and keynote speakers. Both of these men are strong military and veterans supporters and advocates.  

Other speakers and entertainers have been invited.  We will keep everyone posted as we receive confirmation.

As time grows closer to The Wall That Heals coming to Ava in September, the Douglas County Veterans Memorial Association has scheduled a meeting of all workers and volunteers who want to work at The Wall while it is in Ava.  The meeting is set for Tuesday, Aug. 28 at 6:00 p.m. at the Douglas County Veterans Memorial Assn. building across from the post office.

Volunteers are needed to work at The Wall 24/7 while it is in Ava.  The DCVMA has need of chaplains, security, gate workers, traffic control, Gold cart drivers to assist handicapped, Vietnam veterans to assist and brief bus loads of students visiting The Wall, and individuals to hand out bottles of water.  

Over 18,000 bottles of water have been donated to this event.  Trash workers to empty waste from the barrels to the dumpsters.  We also are still seeking workers to help set up and take down the wall.  

In addition to all the workers needed while The Wall is in Ava, the veterans are also seeking individuals to help move bleachers and chairs used during the honors ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 22.  Governor Parsons has committed to be the keynote speaker.  Chairs will be placed in front of the bleachers for special invitees and families.  Seated in those chairs will be Gold Star families who lost family members in Vietnam.  Purple Heart recipients, WWII veterans, Korea Veterans, Gold Level Sponsors and other political dignitaries.

Anyone interested in escorting The Wall into Ava is welcome to participate.  Meeting and staging will be Tuesday, Sept. 18 at the Lebanon, Mo. airport, one-mile south of I-44 on High way 5.  There will be a ride protocol which will be explained during staging, however both veterans and non-veterans are allowed to participate in the escort.  

Vietnam motorcycle riders will lead the procession and ride in front of the truck hauling The Wall.  Next in line will be The Wall That Heals truck with The Wall.  Following the Wall will be in the following order: all Vietnam Veteran Riders, non-Vietnam veteran riders, all other riders.  Following the motorcycles will be classic cars and trucks.  Then anyone who wants to participate in their personal car will follow the classic cars.  These groups will be followed by the highway patrol and police, and Dennis Collins of Jim’s Body Shop in Ava will follow all participants with his tow truck.  

If anyone has a problem with their bike or car they will be picked up by Dennis and taken on into Ava  free of charge.  Motorcycles may want to return to Lebanon to the motorcycle shop there. Dennis has agreed to take them back to Lebanon free of charge if that is where they want to go.  

The  Foxtrotters facility has two sets of indoor restrooms available. Both sets of restrooms will be open and accessible 24/7 while The Wall is on display.

A special combat religious service will be conducted at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22 to kick off activities leading up to the honors ceremony.  The service will be conducted by a military chaplain from Fort Leonard Wood.  It will be a short service like the individuals received in Viet Nam while they were on operations in the jungle.  Everyone seated on the ground, with no instruments, and songs will be sung acapella.  Everyone is invited to attend and participate in the service.

In addition to the workers at The Wall, there will be an information trailer where individuals can look up names and locate a name(s).  This new wall allow for “rubbings” or tracing of names so anyone can trace the name.  Paper and pencils will be provided for rubbings.  Ink pens are not allowed.  

Also available on site is a mobile health unit which will provide dog tags for families of our veterans.  If individual information is not available, the unit will provide an “In Memory” dog tag with the name and date when KIA.  Dog tags are free to anyone who asks for them.

Visitors are invited to visit The Wall 24 hours a day from Wednesday evening after it is erected through Sunday afternoon.  Dismantling will begin at approximately 3 p.m. on Sunday. This will allow individuals to attend church services and still have an opportunity to visit The Wall before it is moved.

Questions about working, or volunteering can be answered at the meeting on the 28th or by calling 417-849-1875.