The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

May 24, 2013

Vietnam Memorial Wall representatives are taking donations this weekend

ENID, Okla. — It is 380 feet of anodized aluminum, but the names engraved on its metal face represent lives lost, tears shed, blood spilled, deaths mourned.

On this Memorial Day weekend, when we pause to honor our war dead, among those we recall are those who paid the ultimate price in Vietnam. Their names are all engraved on the traveling replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall that has found a home in Enid after a nearly year-long fundraising effort.

That project brought in the $250,000 that, combined with the quarter million pledged by an anonymous donor, covered the actual purchase price of the monument.

The wall has been purchased, it is here, in storage near its future home at Enid Woodring Regional Airport.

Now it is a matter of collecting enough money to give our wall the proper setting.

From 8 a.m. until at least 2 p.m. today, representatives of the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall Project will be accepting donations in front of Jumbo Foods West, 2311 W. Willow. KOFM, 103.1 FM, will broadcast from the site of the fundraiser 10 a.m. to noon.

To date, the group has brought in $80,000 of the $150,000 it is trying to raise to not only install the wall, but to do so in a respectful and peaceful setting of which Enid residents can be proud.

Fundraising co-chairmen Dan Ohnesorge and Bob Farrell, both Air Force veterans who served at Vance Air Force Base and retired in Enid, say the group has enough money to put up the wall, but to do it right, they need more.

When the wall is finished and dedicated next Veterans Day, it will be the largest and most impressive Vietnam Memorial Wall outside the original in Washington, D.C. It will be a place of pride, of reflection, and for those young people for whom Vietnam is only an item in a history book, of education.

Anyone who donates will have, in effect, a piece of this monument, which contains the names of 17 people from Enid.

No donations are too small, but groups or individuals giving $1,000 or more can still get their names on a plaque to be erected adjacent to the wall.

Drive by Jumbo’s to donate. You don’t even have to get out of your car. If you can’t make it today, donations can be mailed to Vietnam Memorial Wall Project, c/o Security National Bank, P.O. Box 1272, Enid, OK 73702, or donations can be made in person at any SNB branch. Cash, check or credit card donations are accepted.

Among the plans to enhance the setting of the wall involve benches, shelters, Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalks and landscaping. If it is done right, the wall will be a source of pride for Enid for many years to come.

Let’s do it right. Let’s put up a proper monument to the honored dead of Vietnam.

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