By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
It’s official! The Vietnam Traveling Wall will come to Imperial this spring.
The effort is being spearheaded by the Imperial Chamber of Commerce and VFW Post 4688 and its auxiliary.
Organizer Jana Pribbeno said they received official confirmation from the American Veterans Traveling Tribute (AVTT) that the wall will in Imperial April 22-26.
AVTT, based in Flint, Texas, is a veteran-owned project committed to travel the USA to honor, respect and remember those who served and pay specific tribute to those who gave all. They provide the wall, crew and expertise for the traveling memorial.
The wall will be erected on the Wellington football field at 1150 Wellington Street.
Pribbeno said the wall will arrive in Chase County on Wednesday, April 22, and will be escorted into the community. The wall will be erected and the tribute will open on Thursday, April 23.
Once the exhibit opens, she said the wall will be accessible to visitors around the clock until it closes on Sunday, April 26.
Plans call for daily programs and ceremonies. Volunteers will be sought for two-hour shifts around the clock to stand vigil at the wall.
Pribbeno said they expect visitors from all over the state, noting this will be only Nebraska site for AVTT’s Vietnam Traveling Wall.
County commissioners approved the use of $10,000 from the county’s keno fund to defray the cost of bringing the wall to Chase County.
80 percent scale of original
The Traveling Wall is an 80 percent scale version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington D.C.
Across its 360-foot length the wall contains every single name etched on the original memorial wall. At its apex the memorial is an impressive eight feet tall.
The Traveling Wall was completed in early 1998 and began traveling that year.
AVTT’s Traveling Wall is the largest Wall replica traveling the USA, and is not to be confused with several other replica walls that share the same mutual mission, including The Moving Wall, The Dignity Wall and the Wall That Heals.
Remembering, educating and respect represent the main focuses of AVTT.
The organization AVTT is not government sponsored or affiliated. They are funded through sponsorship fees, donations and sale of merchandise at events.
Donations or support of AVTT’s mission are qualified charitable tax deductions through the Texas Freedom Tribute, a 501-C3 designated charity.
Fundraising for vet memorial
The Traveling Wall event will also serve as a kick-off for a fundraising effort by VFW Post 4688 and auxiliary to establish a permanent veterans memorial in Imperial honoring all veterans.
One of the sites being considered is on the Chase County Courthouse grounds.
Anyone interested in contributing to the permanent veterans memorial can send donations to: VFW Post 4688, Box 518, Imperial NE 69033.