Veteran Rally Organizers Seek to Bring Back Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall For Annual Event

Display May Be Featured at Woodland Park RE-2 School District Athletic Field

Bob Volpe

This year’s Salute to American Veterans Rally is trying to add a popular feature from past years: the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall

The actual memorial is made of two granite slabs etched with the names of more than 58,000 American men and women who died overseas during the Vietnam War that ended in 1975, as well as their date of casualty. It is one of the most iconic and popular historic displays in Washington D.C., located adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial.

The traveling wall is a three-quarter-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, started in 1996 by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. It stands six feet tall at the center and covers almost 300 feet from end to end and lists the names of those American veterans who died in the Vietnam conflict

Last week, Woodland Park residents Billy Crockarell and Linda Martin contacted the Salute event organizers to inquire if the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall would be coming to this year’s rally.

Martin said, “We were beyond disappointed to find out that the traveling wall wouldn’t be here. Billy {Crockarell) has participated in the veterans’ rally for more than 30 years, and after each annual rally, he had a new experience to share with me about the ‘Wall’ when he came home. We have attended city council meetings where Jim and Pam had tried to secure some partial funding from the city, so we were upset, we were sad, when the council made no attempt to do so.”

Martin then asked the organizers what it would take to secure the traveling wall, and that she and Billy generously would offer to pony up the $5,000 deposit to bring this important feature to Woodland Park and the 2022 Veterans Rally. Martin said, “There’s a lot of emotional conflict and division going on in our country right now. I feel like we should be honoring, in every way possible, our military heroes. If my city leadership isn’t willing to step up, I am. There is little or nothing more important to me than patriotism and support for our veterans, and this is a small way that I can be a part of making a difference.”

After the phone call, Wear contacted the Woodland Park School District to see if it would be possible to have the wall on view on the Woodland Park Middle School grounds. After touring the site, it was determined that the athletic field is an ideal place for the wall. The school district is 100-percent behind having the wall located on school grounds, according to the Salute organizers.

However, a few financial hurdles must be cleared.

Wear stated, “It’s not a done deal because we still have to raise about $6,500, plus a room, meals for the truck driver, plus porta-potties to cover the cost.” Funds will also go toward lighting the site so that visitors have the opportunity to view the wall 24-7.

The rally will be held Aug 19-20. If the wall is secured it will be on display on August 17-21 at the Woodland Park middle school athletic field.

Time is short and Martin, Crockarell, and Wear are challenging fellow citizens and businesses to step up and donate to get the wall to Woodland Park. Anyone interested in supporting the effort can contact the organizers of the Salute to American Veterans Rally at 719-487-8005. Sponsors will receive recognition for their contributions.

Last year there was a conflict between the rally organizers and the Woodland Park Farmers Market,  which sets up in memorial park on Fridays throughout the summer (see related story).

But according to Wear, all the issues have been ironed out. The Farmers Market has graciously reorganized their footprint in the park so that the rally can set up on Thursday night in the park before the rally.