Traveling Vietnam memorial visiting Cache Valley

A 370-foot replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, DC is coming to the Cache Valley and will be on display next month as a featured part of the “Cost of Freedom Tribute.” The five-day observance is Sept. 14-18 at the Cache County Fairgrounds. Dan Gyllenskog is the Senior Vice Commandant of the Marine Corps League of Cache Valley and is also the event coordinator of this “American Veterans Traveling Tribute”. “They bring in the display in a large, fifth-wheel trailer,” said Gyllenskog. “It comes in panels, it is eight feet high at the apex and 370 feet long. It has all 58,257 names of those killed in that war, exactly like the one in Washington, DC.” Gyllenskog said the display will open at noon Thursday (Sept. 15) following a brief opening ceremony. “At six o’clock that night we have a program honoring the flag involving local law enforcement, fire fighters, EMTs, EMS and Search and Rescue personnel.” The following day (Friday) is National POW/MIA Awareness Day and a special program will honor prisoners of war and those missing in action. “There is still one soldier from our area, from Smithfield, listed as missing in action,” said Gyllenskog. “That day we will be honoring all of the veterans from all of the different conflicts. General Brian Tarbet will be here that evening as one of our speakers.” He said Saturday is the one day set aside to serve solely as “Vietnam Veteran Welcome Home Day.” “We’re doing that for them since most have not had a welcome home before. We are approaching the Governor requesting a proclamation that the day be designated statewide as Vietnam Vets Welcome Home Day.” Sunday’s events include a nondenominational church service about mid-morning followed by what Gyllenskog calls a “Ride to the Wall.” “Those on bikes will ride into the fair grounds as a group. Then we have what we call a ‘Ride of Honor’. Those involved ride up to the wall, one at a time, stop and salute a Vietnam veteran or an Iraqi freedom veteran, then ride on.” A closing ceremony that night will conclude the weekend. No admission prices are being charged for this event but Gyllenskog said the Traveling Wall Foundation is a 501-C3 charitable organization. “Donations to help pay for this will be accepted at the Fairgrounds during the event at the Marine Corps League booth,” said Gyllenskog.

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