A moving tribute will kick off Elgin's Q125 activities this week.
The Moving Wall, a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will arrive in Elgin on Thursday, June 19, courtesy of the Elgin American Legion and VFW.
It will be located on the open lot behind the Elgin Public Library, which is the south side of Bowen Street. Opening ceremonies are scheduled to begin at The Moving Wall at 5 p.m. on Thursday. A reception is planned in the KC Hall following the ceremonies.
The Moving Wall honors the service and sacrifice of more than 58,000 Americans who died in the Vietnam War and those who remain missing. The public is invited to respectively view and reflect at this memorial at any hour through Sunday, June 22. A book will be available to help visitors locate specific names. It will be lit up at night and guarded throughout the duration of its stay in Elgin. The Moving Wall will leave town the morning of June 23.
Did You Know? Facts About The Moving Wall:
• 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of The Moving Wall, which was founded in 1984 by John Devitt, who served as a helicopter crew chief during his tour in Vietnam. After Devitt saw the actual memorial in Washington, D.C., he was both moved and concerned about others who could not make it to the nation's capital. The Moving Wall was funded by public donations.
• The two walls that make up The Moving Wall are each 126.5 feet long. That total – about 253 feet, is actually just slightly longer than half the length of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which is 493.5 feet.
• There are two years engraved on the wall – 1959 and 1975. The first has been established as the year the first casualties were reported in Vietnam, while 1975 is the year of the last Vietnam casualties.
• The diamonds and plusses (crosses) by the names indicate whether a person is confirmed dead or missing/whereabouts unknown. The diamond indicates a person's death was confirmed. The plusses (crosses) indicate that a person remains missing and unaccounted for.
• There are 74 individual panels in The Moving Wall that are made of aluminum. The glossy, mirror-like finish comes from the polyurethane gloss coating painted on the panels.
• As of Jan. 1, 2013, there were 58,286 names on the Wall. Out of that total, about 1,300 are prisoners of war who have not been accounted for or others who are missing in action. There are no civilians listed.
• The names on the wall are first listed in chronological order, based on the date of the casualty. For each day, the names are in alphabetical order.
• Visitors often leave letters, photos or other memorials by the Wall. These items are collected from every community the Wall visits and are being preserved for display in a future Vietnam museum project.