'Life changing experience'

Organizers say

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The inscription says it all: In honor of the men and women of the Armed Forces who served in the Vietnam War.

While those words may sum up The Moving Wall, a traveling Vietnam War memorial slated for a late summer visit to Craig, it does little to describe feelings the tribute inspires in on-lookers.

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"This will be a life changing experience for everyone who has the opportunity to see it," George Rohrich, chief executive officer of the sponsoring agency, The Memorial Hospital, said.

The Moving Wall, designed to re-create the spirit captured by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., contains the names of about 58,245 fallen American veterans from the war in southeast Asia. From Aug. 9 to 13, the wall will be on display at Loudy-Simpson Park in Craig.

It will be open to the public 24 hours a day with on-site staff available to assist visitors in finding specific names.

John DeVitt, a former helicopter door gunner and Army veteran, founded The Moving Wall after a visit to the Washington D.C. memorial in 1982. He said he wanted to re-create the same feeling for people who couldn't travel to the capitol. The wall is a Plexiglass replica of the original memorial.

Today, there are two replicas touring the U.S. They measure 250 feet long, 4 feet tall at the sides and 6 feet tall in the center. The replicas are sent to 22 to 28 cities each year, with close to 100,000 visitors seeing the memorials at each location during the visit.

Visits to The Moving Wall are free.

Craig Daily Press publisher Bryce Jacobson, who serves on a local committee that organized The Moving Wall's visit to the area, echoed Rohrich's sentiments about the wall's impact on visitors.

"To see the number of Americans who selflessly gave their lives to the preservation of our values and beliefs is nothing short of awe-inspiring," Jacobson said. "This memorial is something every one in our area should see, if for no other reason than to pay their respect to these brave souls."

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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