The Moving Wall will be on display at Cerise Park from May 14 through May 18. Brief opening ceremonies will be held on May 14, with a big extravaganza on May 16, Armed Forces Day.
About 1,800 school children will tour the replica of the memorial during its stay and will learn about the history of the Vietnam War at the same time, Havens said.
“Those students will have escorts showing them the wall, including a volunteer and a Vietnam veteran, and we also have a booklet on the history of Vietnam for each of the students,” he said.
Montrose is the only stop the Moving Wall will make in Colorado this year as it travels around the country. It was last in Montrose in 1987.
The Moving Wall was the brainchild of Vietnam veterans and first went on display in Tyler, Texas, in 1984. Two structures of the Moving Wall now travel the country from April through November, spending about a week at each site.
Opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. on May 14 will consist of the laying of a wreath, invocation, a short speech by Mayor Jose Abeyta, and a performance of the song “Written on the Wall,” sung by Paul Nystrom.
But the big ceremony is on May 16, Armed Forces Day, Havens said, also starting at 10 a.m. The 34-piece Northern Colorado Trumpet Ensemble from the University of Northern Colorado will perform, Carissa Glazner of Montrose will sing “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America” and retired Lt. Gen. Bruce Fister, who flew 220 missions over Vietnam, will be the keynote speaker.
Singer/songwriter Chuck Price will also perform two songs about Vietnam, Havens said, and the ceremony will include bagpipers, a Native American honor ceremony and a three-volley salute by the Delta High School Army Junior ROTC.
The end of the ceremony will be a highlight, Havens said, when nine local pilots fly vintage aircraft, including one from World War I, over the park as the trumpet ensemble plays “Taps.”
The process to bring the Moving Wall to Montrose began last October, when Havens, along with Gary and Nancy Johnston, requested the wall with support from the Montrose Community Foundation, said Jenni Sopsic, executive director of the Montrose Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“Without the community we wouldn’t have been able to bring it here,” she said. “We had a substantial amount of volunteers and received many donations.”
Sopsic said having the Moving Wall in Montrose for a few days is a “fabulous opportunity” for people who can’t make the trip to see the original in Washington, D.C.
“I think we’re very fortunate to have this in Montrose,” she said.
Tax-deductible donations to assist with bringing the Moving Wall to Montrose can be made payable to Montrose Community Foundation. Please note “Moving Wall Component Fund” on the check and mail to the Montrose Community Foundation, P.O. Box 3020, Montrose CO 81402.
To get to Cerise Park from West Main Street, turn south at Chipeta Road and then east on Shane’s Way. Parking is available but limited, Havens said, so every 15 minutes, starting at 8:30 a.m., shuttle buses will pick people up from parking lots at Baldridge Park and Russell Stover’s.
Havens suggested people bring a lawn chair or blanket for the Saturday ceremony “and plenty of sunscreen.”