Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall coming to Gilbert in Aug.

By Cindy Browning lbradford@civitasmedia.com

July 15, 2014

By Cindy Browning


GILBERT - Residents of Mingo County and surrounding parts of Southern West Virginia will have an opportunity next month to pay their respects to soldiers who died while serving in Southeast Asia when the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall is displayed at the Larry Joe Harless Community Center in Gilbert.

The wall will be at the Harless Center on Aug. 22-24 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. It will be located on the center’s RV lot, just across from the tennis courts.

Numerous motorcycle groups will be escorting the wall from Bluefield to Gilbert and Cheryl Mitchem, executive director of the LJHCC, says she is working on getting a Blackhawk helicopter to escort the wall in addition to the motorcycle groups. Mitchem says she hopes the helicopter can make it because it will add a wonderful touch to the arrival ceremony.

The community of Gilbert should have at least 30 volunteers when the wall arrives to take part in the wall’s assembly. Mitchem says they already have more than 30. She says everyone in the community is thrilled to see the wall coming to their community and they are all eager to lend a hand.

Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Foundation, the local VFW, Wyoming Board of Education and Bugles Across America are among the organizations, as well as individuals, that have played a large part in making this possible.

Mitchem is attempting to gather photos and names of the families who lost a loved one in the war. Names will be displayed on the wall while pictures will be used for a large photo display that will be set up for viewing by visitors.

On the wall’s first day in Gilbert there will be a private ceremony for the families of the fallen Vietnam War soldiers where Gen. Robert H. “Doc” Foglesong, retired Air Force fighter pilot and Williamson resident, will be a guest speaker.

A closing ceremony will be conducted by members of the VFW at 3 p.m. on the wall’s last day. The ceremony will include a rifle volley to honor all veterans.

Mitchem is encouraging everyone, including schools, to come out to see the wall and experience the opportunity for themselves. She feels it is important for families to understand what veterans have done for this country and for people as individuals.

Individuals who know a family or have a photo that they would like to include on the wall or on the photo display, or anyone with the name of a family wanting to be included in the private reception should contact Cheryl Mitchem at 304-664-2500, ext. 102, or email her at cmitchem@ljhcc.com.