Vietnam Memorial “The Moving Wall” Coming to County College of Morris

Morristown Minute

VFW Post 7333 of Randolph brings the traveling tribute, the Vietnam Memorial “The Moving Wall,” to County College of Morris July 7 – 11.

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Residents from Morris County and beyond will have the opportunity to experience the poignancy and meaning associated with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial when The Moving Wall, a half-size replica, comes to County College of Morris (CCM) this July at the initiative of VFW Post 7333 of Randolph.

The Moving Wall will be on display July 7 – July 11 at the college, 214 Center Grove Road, Randolph, near Parking Lot 1.

The Moving Wall is a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall created by Vietnam veteran John Devitt and fellow veterans Norris Shears, Gerry Haver, and others. This mini memorial first went on display in October of 1984 in Tyler, Texas.

Now with the help of Randolph V.F.W. Post 7333 of Randolph Township, NJ, the Moving Wall will come to Morris County at the County College of Morris for all to enjoy.

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Morris County Commissioner John Krickus, a Marine Corps veteran, presented Bill Menzel, a Vietnam Veteran and Vice Commander of VFW Post 733MorrisCountyNJ.gov

The ceremonies begin on July 8 with proclamations from Randolph Township and Morris County.

The Grand Opening will be on July 9 and include a prayer from Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney from the Diocese of Paterson and proclamations from the U.S. Congress and New Jersey State Legislature. There will also be a tribute to Gold Star families and a wreath-laying ceremony.

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Vietnam Veteran Emerson Crooks of VFW Post 7333 spoke briefly, but emotionally about five colleagues he lost in Vietnam in one nightMorrisCountyNJ.gov

July 10 will include a prayer from Rabbi Asher Herson from the Chabad Center of Northwestern New Jersey and the singing of God Bless America.

July 8 through July 10 also will feature rifle salutes and then the playing of Taps each evening at 8 p.m.

The closing ceremony will take place the morning of July 11 with a prayer from Reverend Timothy Clarkson from Union Hill Presbyterian Church in Denville, the Retiring of Colors, and the collection of wreaths and any mementos left on the wall.

Visitors who lost someone in the Vietnam War will be invited to make a rubbing of their loved one’s name from the wall throughout the course of each day.

“Thanks to the efforts of State Senator Anthony Bucco and VFW members like Emerson Crooks and Jack Sassaman, we will be able to experience the Vietnam Wall and honor our fallen service members. Our goal is to help bring healing to veterans, families and friends who suffered through this divisive conflict,” said Bill Menzel from VFW Post 7333, the project coordinator. “The Moving Wall additionally is intended to educate youth about the Vietnam War and its impact on the nation and veterans.”

In Morris County, NJ, there are names of fallen heroes on the wall from Boonton (4 soldiers), Butler (3), Chatham (4), Chatham Township (1), Denville (6), Dover (5), Hanover (2), Jefferson (2), Lincoln Park (1), Long Hill (2), Kinnelon (1), Madison (6), Mendham (1), Montville (3), Morristown (3), Morris Plains (1), Mountain Lakes (2), Mt. Olive (1), Netcong (1), Parsippany (2), Pequannock (3), Riverdale (2), Rockaway (1), Roxbury (2), Wharton (1).

“We are honored to have been asked to host The Moving Wall at CCM to recognize all veterans, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice, and to teach the next generation about the impact and lessons learned as a result of this time in our nation’s history,” said Dr. Anthony J. Iacono, president of CCM.

Also supporting the efforts to bring the wall to the college are the Morris County Board of County Commissioners.

“All Morris County residents should take advantage of this unique opportunity to see the traveling version of the Vietnam wall. I would especially urge parents to bring their children, and high school and college students to come and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as a big thank you to our Vietnam veterans,” said Deputy Director John Krickus of the Morris County Board of County Commissioners, a Marine Corps veteran

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Officials at a press conference, March 9, at County College of Morris with proclamations celebrating the plans to bring the Vietnam VeteransMorrisCountyNJ.gov

When John Devitt, a Vietnam veteran, attended the 1982 dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., he felt its power and vowed to share that experience with those who might not have the opportunity to visit it.

Since Devitt, Norris Shears, Gerry Haver, and other Vietnam veteran volunteers built The Moving Wall it has continued to travel the country for more than 30 years.

This will be the second time The Moving Wall has come to Morris County. The first time was in Jefferson Township in 2004.

The cost to bring the wall to Morris County is estimated at $30,000 and donations are being sought to help to defray that cost.

VFW Post 7333 also is looking for volunteers to assist while the wall is at CCM. To volunteer or to make a donation, go to the VFW Post 7333 webpage. Sponsorship and program advertising opportunities also are available by emailing menzel10@aol.com.

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