- Associated Press - Thursday, March 6, 2014

HAMBURG TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Tears in the eyes of veterans who just missed the Moving Wall’s 2010 stop in Hamburg Township left a mental imprint on the minds of organizers.

Volunteers immediately applied to have the Vietnam War replica memorial - which lists all 58,000-plus American causalities from the war - return to the community.

Four years later, the traveling exhibit is scheduled to return to Hamburg Aug. 28 through Sept. 1 in West Bennett Park, according to the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus (https://bit.ly/1eSgT8u ).

Many veterans showed up in Hamburg the day the Moving Wall was dismantled in 2010, hoping to pay homage to their fallen comrades.

“We were still there closing things up and putting the park back together. We were there until probably midafternoon, and we had several people that showed,” recalled Joanna Hardesty, president of the Hamburg Enhanced Recreation Organization.

“The whole thing was very emotional, but that was pretty tough because we had to send them away,” Hardesty added.

The Moving Wall is a replica of the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

A Bob Hope USO show is scheduled for Friday and Saturday of the weekend, with an impersonator acting as the late comedian at East Bennett Park.

Military displays and vehicles will be on site during the weekend’s events.

Former prisoners of war from the Vietnam War, Korean War and World War II will be honored guests.

Hardesty said the Moving Wall visit will help honor Vietnam War veterans, many of whom did not receive hero’s welcomes upon returning home.

She said the 2010 event drew veterans from all over Michigan, but that many veterans either haven’t been able to visit the Washington, D.C., monument or see the traveling exhibit.

“The reason we wanted to bring it back to Hamburg is because of the tremendous impact it had on the community and most importantly our vets and that we offered an opportunity for them to come visit that they normally wouldn’t have,” Hardesty said.

“It was a time for a lot of tears and, hopefully, healing that a lot of the veterans experienced when they came and visited. We just feel that while we touched a lot of vets, there are still a lot more out there that we did not reach, and we want to do it again,” she added.

HERO hopes to have a Huey helicopter flown during the war on-site during the Labor Day events. A permit with the township is pending.

The organization is seeking the helicopter because it was a sign to U.S. soldiers that help was on the way, Hardesty said.

HERO is hoping for a helicopter flyover as a veterans group escorts the memorial into Hamburg, but may settle for a static display.


Information from: Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, https://www.livingstondaily.com

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