HAMPTON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Just in time for the Fourth of July, a traveling replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall made its way to Hampton Community Park on Wednesday with a police escort.
At 80 percent of the size of the Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., the replica will be set up on the soccer field and will be lit it up at night.
The reason for the replica is simple: American heroes must be honored and never forgotten.
“I think once they go and see the wall; it might affect them a little bit more. Look how many guys gave up their life,” said Sandee Ward, a retired Navy Corps WAVE from Hampton Township. “You just feel so patriotic. I just loved serving. I loved helping the people.”
She and some family and friends came to welcome the traveling tribute to Hampton.
“I’m here in memory of a couple of friends who died after they had been over in Vietnam from issues from Agent Orange. So this is for them,” said Karen Polanosky, of Deer Lakes.
“It’s the least I can do for these people who perished. It’s the least actually we all can do. I’m surprised there aren’t more people here,” said Chris Cirlingione, of Hampton.
The scaled-down version is 360 feet long, eight feet high and has a timeline from the Vietnam War.
“We saw it in DC several years ago and it was pretty moving. I was shocked. It was very moving,” said Cirlingione.
For those who have never been or can’t get to Washington DC, the replica is designed to help take you there to honor our heroes.
“I grew up during the Vietnam War era and I realized at that time it wasn’t a popular war and the veterans were not treated nicely. I think it’s time to make repair of that and allow them to get their fair share of acclamation,” said Victor Son, Hampton Township’s Council president.
Son was instrumental in bringing the memorial to Hampton.
“We’re humbled by the opportunity to provide to the residence in the area and a lot of veterans that don’t have the opportunity or can’t make it to Washington, D.C. Fortunately, we were able to get [the memorial] for the span that will cover July 4th,” said Son.
At 7 p.m. Thursday, there will be an opening ceremony. Then, the replica will be on display until the Fourth of July.
According to Son, it cost $11,000 which was all covered by generous donations from residents and local business owners.