Fort Wayne museum plans permanent Vietnam War memorial wall
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — A military veterans museum in Fort Wayne is planning to add a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall to its grounds in the coming months.
The Veterans National Memorial Shrine and Museum said it is buying a retired 360-foot-long traveling replica that’s 80% as large as the black granite memorial wall in Washington, D.C., inscribed with the names of more than 58,000 Americans killed or missing during the Vietnam War.
Organizers hope to have the replica wall installed by Veterans Day in November 2020, said Greg Bedford, commander of the nonprofit museum on Fort Wayne’s western edge.
The museum hopes to raise as much as $300,000 in donations of money, materials and labor toward the wall purchase, its foundation, landscaping, lighting and benches, Bedford said.
Rebecca True, chief operating officer of American Veterans Traveling Tribute, said the Fort Wayne museum is buying a traveling wall that’s been on the road since 2008.
“We decided to retire it, and rather than putting it into storage, we decided to sell it and let it have a good resting place where it can be honored and viewed,” True told The (Fort Wayne) Journal Gazette.
The Fort Wayne shrine, which was started in 1950 by World War I veteran Eric Scott and his wife, also is looking to raise money for separate monuments to World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the post-9/11 war in Afghanistan. Another new monument would honor Gold Star Families, the immediate family members of war dead.
The completion target date for the five monuments is Veterans Day in 2021.
“We think it is going to be an economic driver that will support what we are trying to do, and that is a memorial to all wars and all men and women that gave all,” Bedford said.