The Moving Wall, a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will travel along a 12.5-mile route through Columbus on its way to the Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds, where it will be on display for five days.
The exhibit, which will be coming from Grayling, Michigan, will arrive in Columbus on July 27 and be open to the public 24 hours a day through July 31.
American Legion Post 24, which began a campaign to raise $64,000 for the exhibit in December, is optimistic in its efforts to hit that goal, post commander Al McKown said.
About half of the $64,000 cost has been committed in the form of in-kind donations, and $18,000 to $20,000 in cash pledges have been made so far, said Dempsey Ferguson, finance officer at the post.
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That includes $300 from an online crowdfunding website, youcaring.com.
But additional funding is still being sought.
“We’re doing anything we can to raise money,” Ferguson said.
The post plans to sell red Support Our Troops shirts for $15 to $18 each, while Moving Wall shirts also will be available for sale by early next week for $20 each. In addition, a tenderloin fundraising dinner will be from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 14 at the post.
The public will be able to see the wall for free, but donations will be accepted from visitors during the display time, McKown said.
If funds exceed the cost of bringing the exhibit to Columbus, monies will be shared with veterans groups, he said.
The exhibit, which has been touring the country since 1984, was last in Columbus at the Columbus Municipal Airport in 2002.
A crowd of 100,000 people is expected to attend the new version of the exhibit, which also will feature speakers, a Huey helicopter that served in Vietnam and a 40-foot obstacle course that will be available for the public, McKown said.
McKown also said he expects the event to be of interest to people of all ages, including children and families who may have loved ones who fought during the conflict but are unable to make it to Washington, D.C.
“It’s kind of a history lesson,” he said.
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 can be 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.”
Information: Post commander Al McKown, 812-447-1000; finance officer Dempsey Ferguson, 812-371-5291; or the post, 812-376-7036.
What: Traveling Vietnam Veterans Wall exhibit
When: July 27-31, open 24 hours a day
Where: Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds
Admission: Free, with donations being accepted