- Associated Press - Thursday, September 11, 2014

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - A traveling wall honoring more than 58,000 military personnel who died in the Vietnam War arrived in Carbondale this week.

The AVTT Traveling Vietnam Wall, a replica of the wall in Washington, D.C., was escorted from Anna by dozens of vehicles, including 13 police cars, eight fire trucks and over 40 motorcycles, on Wednesday, the Southern Illinoisan (https://bit.ly/Zic8Al ) reported. Spectators welcomed the caravan with cheers.

“A lot of them were standing and saluting,” said Roger Smith, a Vietnam veteran from West Frankfort. “A lot of them were waving flags — just respect.”

He said it was a stark contrast to the welcome he received when he returned from Vietnam more than 40 years ago. People threw rocks, tomatoes and eggs at him back then, Smith said.

Skip Cosgrove, Vietnam Wall committee chair, wanted to bring the wall to Carbondale to help Southern Illinois veterans heal from their experiences in Vietnam.

“I hope that they come and they have a memorable experience, and they walk away with a better understanding,” he said. “The wall almost emanates energy … Even though it’s an inanimate object, there’s an aura about it that impacts people greatly.”

The wall will be in Carbondale through Sunday.

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Information from: Southern Illinoisan, https://www.southernillinoisan.com

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