A travelling Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall visited Chisago Lakes in 2009
One is 254-feet long and the other is 360-feet long but the sentiment remains the same: bring the solemnity of the Vietnam Memorial wall to those who can’t make it to Washington, D.C., to see the real thing.
This weekend, two Minnesota cities, Mankato and Audubon near Detroit Lakes, have brought travelling Vietnam wall replicas to their towns.
In the past, visitors to the travelling walls have come from a 60-mile radius, so neither sponsor thinks there will be much competition between the simultaneous exhibits in Mankato in southeastern Minnesota and Audubon in west central part of the state.
“Anyone who honors these veterans is doing a good job, so I don’t see it as being a problem,” said Sue Worlds, regional director for the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, one of the sponsors of the event.
Audubon’s “Moving Wall” is sponsored by the Agassiz Chapter of Wind & Fire Motorcycle Club, a Harley riding firefighters club. It took several years of fundraising to be able to bring the wall to town, said John Ronning, chapter president and a retired firefighter.
Mankato’s wall, the American Veterans Travelling Tribute, will be up and available for viewing starting at 7 a.m. Thursday. A ceremony is scheduled 6 p.m. Thursday and veteran center support and counselling will be available. The wall was last in Mankato in 2006.
“Everyone has been touched in some way by a Vietnam veteran, and we made a comment to them that we would bring it back,” Worlds said.
The Mankato exhibit on Stoltzman Road on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial site will be open to the public 24-hours a day until Sunday afternoon. The Audubon exhibit will be in the city park on Falcon Street and will be open 24-hours a day until 4 p.m. Monday.
Mark Brunswick • 612-673-4434