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Phoenix-area city to host Vietnam War memorial over Veterans Day

(Facebook/Official City of Buckeye, AZ)
LISTEN: The significance of hosting the Vietnam Veterans Traveling Memorial

PHOENIX — A Phoenix-area city will host a traveling memorial for Vietnam War veterans over Veterans Day weekend.

The community of Buckeye will host the Vietnam Veterans Traveling Memorial Wall at the Earl Edgar Recreational Park over the holiday weekend.

The memorial arrived on Wednesday, when many in the community turned out on the town’s main street to watch it roll by.

Among the community members were a number of Vietnam War veterans, including J.T. Higgins.

Higgins, a former prisoner-of-war, said he came to the event to “pay respects to my other 58,479 [soldiers] that we don’t know if they made it back or not.”

Bringing a well-known monument to a town on the outskirts of America’s fifth largest city might seem unusual, but residents said they are proud of their community’s rural spirit.

“Phoenix is too big of a city to have the tight impact that resonates with our small town and to be there for these gentlemen and ladies,” said Buckeye chaplain Debra-Diane McDonnell.

“This was an unusual war for this country that many have still not recovered from. And we need to understand and we need to help people grieve through this,” she added.

McDonnell said the memorial is moving to all who see it.

“Going to wall always evokes emotion, especially if [a veteran] sees the name of a friend,” she said. “And it’s a chance to say that goodbye that maybe they didn’t get to say and then to have someone there to talk to about that and help get them past that and into today.”

McDonnell will be on hand during the memorial’s stay to offer comfort and support for veterans and families as they look over the names and reflect on the past.

Buckeye City Councilwoman Michelle Hess said it was a “great honor” to have the memorial in town.

“We are a town that believes in honoring our vets and our history and our heritage, so it was really important to take this time and make it happen here for Buckeye.”

The Vietnam Veteran’s Traveling Memorial will open to the public at noon on Thursday. Numerous ceremonies and speeches will take place at the memorial over Veterans Day weekend.

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