Submitted by Robert Jeffers of Supervisor Rick Farinelli’s Office
MADERA – Riders from American Legion Post 11 led an escort of over 75 motorcycles through the streets of Madera early Thursday morning as the Moving Wall arrived in the center of the city. The Madera Police Department provided their own motorcycle escort, helping control traffic.
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1981 helped prepare for the wall’s arrival and operation.
After a loop around Courthouse Park, volunteers from both groups and students from Mountain Vista High School helped assemble the wall on the grounds just east of the historic courthouse.
“I cannot express my appreciation enough for all the hard work that went into getting this here,” said Madera County Supervisor Rick Farinelli. “It was really emotional watching the wall arrive to the sound of all those motorcycles. This was a great way to kick off a great event.”
By the time the wall was completed, dozens had already gathered to pay their respects. During its stay, the wall will be open to the public 24 hours a day, until the wall prepares for its next destination on Monday morning.
Throughout the weekend, there will be events to honor the wall and local veterans:
On Friday evening, Oct. 17, the American Legion will perform a sunset ceremony to honor prisoners of war or those missing in action (POW/MIA) – the names of 1,200 such servicemen can be found on the wall.
Saturday morning at 11 a.m., the VFW will host the official Welcoming Ceremony. Local veterans will speak and there will be a reading of the names on the wall of the veterans from Madera County.
On Sunday morning at 7 a.m., the Madera Ministerial Association will hold a sunrise service in honor of those who gave their lives in love of country.
The Moving Wall is a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. Launched in 1984, the Moving Wall project travels across the country stopping in different cities. This will be the first time the monument has stopped in Madera.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Tonkin, known as the official start of the Vietnam War. Nearly 58,000 servicemen died before the war officially ended in 1975.