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Rensselaer welcomes Traveling Vietnam Wall Wednesday

The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall is scheduled to arrive in Rensselaer Wednesday afternoon. An escort will guide the Wall and its team at 4 pm leading to Brookside Park.

Citizens are invited to welcome the Wall’s arrival and visit the memorial during its local stay.

The Traveling Vietnam Wall was on display in Watseka a few years ago. The Wall was also displayed in Kankakee County back in 2001.

The wall is 80 percent of the size of the original Vietnam Wall Memorial in Washington, DC. Despite the size difference, it still includes every single name of the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service during the conflict.

Citizens of Rensselaer and beyond are encouraged to visit this memorial to pay respects. It will be set up and open for visits near the site of the old Rensselaer High School football field, across from Weston Cemetery, near Bunkum Road.

Plans for the event are coordinated by Veteran Service Officer (VSO) Chris Woodcock. He’s led efforts to raise approximately $15,000 and making public requests for volunteers to make sure the event is successful. There were concerns that not enough volunteers involved to meet the schedule. But Woodock now says only one or two potential open positions left thanks to some last-minute appointments.

Former VSO Pat Donnelly, who still works part-time in the office, credited Woodcock for his work on the event.

The event will feature a large American flag in the park, in honor of everyone from Jasper County who perished in Vietnam War era. The larger flags are normally placed at the top of the Jasper Courthouse during the warmer time of the year to replace the smaller ones raised in winter. For the past several years, the larger flags have been dedicated to a fallen local veteran or military cause related to Jasper County.

The flag will flying, half-staff, on the flagpole at Brookside Park. During the Vietnam War,
58,000 American soldiers lost their lives in the line of duty, including seven from Jasper County and five specifically from Rensselaer.

94.1 WGFA