The Vietnam Moving Wall, a half-size replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C. engraved with the 58,000 lost soldiers’ names, arrived at Natick High School’s soccer field today and will be displayed until Sunday night.
Starting tonight at 6 p.m., every day will feature ceremonies. Friday the observance will be at 6 p.m., Saturday at noon, and Sunday at 5 p.m.
The town will provide etching paper and pencils for anyone who wishes to take home soldiers’ names.
The town raised over $25,000 and has planned obtaining the Wall for over a year, said Veterans Council member John Crisafulli.
“It takes about a year because the wall goes all over the country,” he said. “Then you have to raise the funds, a minimum of $25,000, and then you have to get a group of volunteers, and before it gets here you need to find a nice place to display it.”
Still, the work, planning, fundraising and effort were all worth it, he said.
“It gives the opportunity for people that can’t travel to Washington,” Crisafulli said. “This isn’t just for Natick, but everyone in the surrounding communities to come and visit. The main thing is that it’s to remember those people that gave their life for us.”
The ceremonies will honor the 11 Natick men who fought and died in the Vietnam War, with wreath presentations done by the soldiers’ families.
“We had a difficult time locating some families, but some families are still here,” Crisafulli said. “And it’s not just for Natick, but for anyone with someone on the wall, and if you don’t have someone it’s to pay tribute for these men.”
Crisfulli said he is thrilled the memorial is in Natick, and that the town has a renowned patriotism.
“Over 58,000 just in the Vietnam War lost their life, some of them right from high school,” he said. “I think the wall will make people feel like brothers and sisters and family, and remind people that freedom is very costly.”