CARMEL, N.Y. – Honoring the sacrifice of those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces is important to Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council, in cooperation with Putnam County Government, will host the Traveling Wall at Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park from Thursday, Sept. 23 through Sunday, Sept. 27. The Traveling Wall is an 80 percent scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and is the largest of the traveling wall replicas.
“It is of utmost importance to support our veterans and show gratitude for all they have done to protect out great nation,” said County Executive Odell. “I am honored to have the opportunity to bring the Traveling Wall here to Putnam County as we remember the start of the Vietnam War 50 years ago this month. Hosting the Wall at Veterans Memorial Park allows veterans and families who might not have the chance to travel to Washington D.C. the ability to see the names on the Wall.”
The display will be open 24 hours a day from the opening at noon on Thursday through Sunday at 3 p.m. Volunteers will be setting up the exhibit at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24 at the park. At noon the exhibit will be open to the public. The ceremony marking the opening of the exhibit will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The closing ceremony will be at noon on Sunday. With Sunday being Gold Star Mother’s Day, after the closing ceremony will segue into the annual Gold Star Mother’s Day Observance at 1 p.m. The Wall will remain open until 3 p.m., when volunteers will break down and packed up the display.
“Bringing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Traveling Wall to Putnam is a labor of love,” said Director of Putnam County Veterans Service Agency Karl Rohde. “Many hours go into planning such an event. However the fact that viewing the wall by one Veteran or family member who has never seen it may finally bring that person closure makes all the effort worthwhile.”
Over the days that the Wall is open, there will be the occasional performance from local music groups. In addition, there will be volunteers continually reading the names that appear on the Wall, in order of their death until the exhibit closes.
“I encourage everyone to stop by to see the names of the men and women who answered the call of their nation and paid the ultimate price,” said Art Hanley, Chairman of the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council. “Everyone was someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, boyfriend, girlfriend or father. Each one lives on in our through this Memorial of over 58,000 names.”
The Traveling Wall will be arriving in Putnam County on Wednesday, Sept. 23. There will be an escort of law enforcement, fire department vehicles along with motorcycle groups. The staging point for the start of this escort will be the northbound rest area on I-684 at 3 p.m.
It is the third time that the Traveling Wall will be hosted in Putnam County. It was last here in 2011.
County Executive Odell said “Welcome Home,” the traditional salute to the Vietnam Veterans.
Volunteers are needed to help setup, break down, read names from the Wall and to help people find specific names on the display. If you are interested in volunteering contact Karl Rohde or Art Hanley at 845-808-1620.
Photo Caption: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Traveling Wall will be on display at Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park from Thursday, Sept. 24 through Sunday, Sept. 27. Photo from the 2011 display of the Traveling Wall. Photo by Denis Castelli.