GILBERT — In July of 2013, residents of Pike and surrounding Kentucky counties were given an opportunity to pay their respects to fallen soldiers when the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall was temporarily placed Pikeville.
This year in August, Mingo County and other surrounding areas in West Virginia will have the same opportunity when the wall makes its appearance at the Larry Joe Harless Community Center in Gilbert. Dates for the wall visitation will be August 22, 23 and 24 from 9:00am to 9:00pm with the wall being placed on the center’s RV lot, just across from the tennis courts.
Numerous motorcycle groups will be escorting the wall’s entrance from Bluefield, WV to Gilbert and Cheryl Mitchem, executive directer at 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 it works out with the helicopter 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 put a hand in on the wall’s assembly, which Mitchem says they already have more than 30 that has volunteered. She says that everyone in the community is thrilled to see this coming 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 some that have played a large part in making this possible as well as other individuals.
Mitchem is attempting to gather photos and names of the families that has lost a loved one in the war. Names will be displayed on the wall while photos will be used for a large photo display that will be set up to view.
On the wall’s first day in Gilbert there will be a private ceremony for the families of the fallen Vietnam War soldiers where General Robert H. “Doc” Foglesong, retired USAF and Williamson resident, will be a guest speaker.
There will be a closing ceremony held on the wall’s last day that members of the VFW will conduct at 3:00pm. 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 this beautiful opportunity. She feels it is important for families to understand what our veterans have done for our country and for people as individuals.
If you have a name of a family or a photo that you would like to include on the wall or on the photo display, please feel free to contact Cheryl Mitchem at 304-664-2500, Ext. 102 or you may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mitchem said anyone with the name of a family wanting to be included in the private reception, or anyone with photos of area Vietnam veterans to be used in the display, are urged to contact her by calling (304) 664-2500, Ext. 102. Mitchem can also be reached at, email@example.com.