About 5 p.m. Wednesday, the Traveling Vietnam Wall will pull into Middleville and will stay until July 1, brought to the village by the Middleville Lions Club. The wall will be dedicated in a ceremony Thursday at 7 p.m.
Charlie Pullen, village president and veteran, said they expect an influx of Vietnam veterans, visitors and families of those who served there and, “a very emotional time.”
Preparing for a crowd, Pullen said they will run a shuttle from McFall Elementary school to the site of the wall at the end of Market Street in the former Metaldyne parking lot to ease traffic. Parking by the wall will be mostly for the handicapped.
Volunteers are still being sought to stand guard for two hour shifts 24/7 until the wall leaves, a requirement for the memorial.
The Lawrence J. Bauer American Legion Post in Hastings has volunteered to stand guard on Saturday, but there are still gaps in the coverage, Pullen said. To volunteer for a two-hour stint, call the Middleville Village office at 269-795-3385.
The traveling wall, a 3/5 scale of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., stands six feet tall at the center and covers almost 300 feet from end to end.
The original, designed by Maya Lin, is also called the Healing Wall. To the three million people who visit it each year, it is a reminder of the great sacrifices made during the Vietnam War and is meant to be a reflective, contemplative place that is protective and quiet.
When the veterans and families who lost a father, son, brother or friend in Vietnam visit the wall, just being there helps healing and rekindles friendships.