American Legion Post 24 has begun a campaign to raise nearly $64,000 to bring a traveling Vietnam Veterans wall exhibit to Columbus.

The exhibit, a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Wall Memorial in Washington, D.C., is scheduled to be on display July 27 to 31 at the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds, post commander Al McKown said.

Admission to see the wall, which will be on display 24 hours a day, will be free, with donations accepted.

Post leaders expect at least 100,000 visitors during the five-day exhibit. The wall, which was at Columbus Municipal Airport in 2002, has been touring the country since 1984.

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Since many Vietnam veterans deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, McKown said he hopes the exhibit will be an experience that offers healing for them.

Speakers are planned as part of the five-day event, and displays highlighting major military conflicts — from World War II to present — will also be available.

Susan Thayer Fye, a legion auxiliary member, said the exhibit will serve as an educational opportunity for students.

“This is historic,” Fye said. “And for a 10-year-old kid studying history, this may be the only time they can see it.”

The post has launched an online crowdfunding campaign and plans to distribute letters to area businesses seeking support, McKown said. In-kind donations are also being sought.

Fish fries and other events are also planned to raise money for the exhibit. Besides direct costs associated with the exhibit, organizers need to cover the cost of security, golf carts, signs, benches, food and other items, he said.

Any funds that exceed the targeted amount will be donated to veterans groups, said Dempsey Ferguson, finance officer at the post.

A meeting will be held at the post, 2515 25th St., at 5:45 p.m. Jan. 4 to talk about fundraising and volunteer opportunities tied to the exhibit. The meeting is open to the public.

About the exhibit

The traveling Vietnam Veterans wall, known as the Moving Wall, is a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It has been touring the country for more than 30 years and was first displayed in Tyler, Texas, beginning in 1984, according to the Moving Wall’s website.

Two structures of the Moving Wall travel the U.S. from April to November and spend about a week at each site.

Helping the cause

Donations to bring a traveling Vietnam Veterans wall exhibit to Bartholomew County can be made by mailing a check to American Legion Post 24, 2515 25th St., Columbus. Checks being made out to American Legion Moving Wall Fund.

An online crowdfunding website has also been established at youcaring.com, which can be found by searching “Support the 2017 Moving Wall Memorial in Columbus, Indiana.”

Campaign goal is $63,875.

Information: Post commander Al McKown at 812-447-1000 or finance officer Dempsey Ferguson 812-371-5291. The post can also be reached at 812-376-7036.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com