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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Replica of Vietnam Veterans Memorial returns to Naperville November 9-13


Above / In 2015, crews from the Naperville Park District helped construct the frame for the Naperville Vietnam Wall of Remembrance at the base of Rotary Hill, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The replica “Wall” was created then and will be this year by Blooming Color. For 2023, plans are underway for the Naperville Park District to co-sponsor the display at the Riverwalk Grand Pavilion, Nov. 9-13. Volunteers from Naperville Responds for Veterans will set the framework. Watch for details coming soon. (PN File Photo)

Updated Post, Nov. 12, 2023 / Click here for a sampling of narrative with photos representing all the days of Naperville Vietnam Wall of Remembrance as they happened from Nov. 9 through Nov. 13.

U.S. Naval Sea Cadets observed Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2023. (PN Photo)

Updated Post, Nov. 3, 2023 / With framework nearly in place, signs say the schedule of the special events for the Naperville Vietnam Wall of Remembrance are about to begin with an opening ceremony at 10AM Thurs., Nov. 9.

Original Post, Sept. 21, 2023 / At its September 14 meeting, the Naperville Park District Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to co-sponsor the 2023 display of a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that stands in Washington, D.C. The approval includes building the “Vietnam Wall of Remembrance” and co-hosting a Veterans Day ceremony near the Riverwalk Grand Pavilion, just west of Centennial Beach. 

A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was previously displayed in Naperville as part of the 2015 Healing Field of Honor at the base of Rotary Hill along the Riverwalk.

In 2015, the Vietnam Wall of Remembrance stood along the Riverwalk at the base of Rotary Hill. For 2023, the “Wall” will be situated near the Riverwalk Grand Pavilion, just south of the Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873. (PN File Photo)

The return of the Vietnam Wall of Remembrance commemorates the 50th anniversary of the departure of the last U.S. combat troops from South Vietnam in 1973. The wall is approximately 233 feet in length and includes the names of more than 58,000 service members who gave their lives between 1957 and 1975.

Organizers anticipate the replica wall will be an educational and emotional element of the Veterans Day observance, a time to make a Naperville connection. As in 2015, a special tribute will be assembled to honor and pay respect to 11 men from Naperville and their Gold Star Families who sacrificed during the Vietnam era.

Any individual interested in finding the name of a family member or friend on the wall can search the virtual wall at www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces/.

Along the Riverwalk, the 2015 Vietnam Wall of Remembrance attracted hundreds of visitors every day for a week, giving the community an opportunity to share stories and learn from Veterans who have served and local Gold Star families that sacrificed all, reinforcing the importance of their service. (PN File Photo)

Several community organizations and volunteers are working together to construct and display the 2023 replica and to coordinate the Veterans Day event, including Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873, Naperville American Legion Post 43, and Naperville Responds for Veterans. Blooming Color again is donating the panels for the wall. 84 Lumber is providing the wood for the frame.

“As a Vietnam Veteran having this ‘Vietnam Wall of Remembrance’ back in Naperville is thanks to Blooming Color and Naperville Responds for Veterans,” said Wayne Fischer, USMC, who deeply appreciates all the efforts by the Naperville Park District. 

“The Wall always brings back memories of Vietnam—good and bad. ‘Comradeship’ carried us through our time serving in Vietnam. ‘Memories’ of our Service there never go away. ‘Families’ that paid the ultimate sacrifice cannot be honored enough,” Fischer continued.

“We hope that many will come to see the Vietnam Wall of Remembrance to learn what the ‘Wall’ means and to see those honored.”

Fischer noted that Veterans will be on-watch from 6AM to 10PM Thurs., Nov. 9, through Mon., Nov. 13 to share their stories and assist.  

From late 1967 to late 1968, Fischer served as a Helicopter Pilot in the Marine Corps where he experienced all kinds of missions in Vietnam.

“The last mission of the day would be bringing our KIA’s to the base morgue on their 1st leg home to their families,” Fischer said. “That makes our ‘Vietnam Wall of Remembrance’ very special.”

Replica of the Vietnam Wall of Remembrance displayed in 2015 at Rotary Hill was a place to pause and reflect. For 2023, the “Wall” will return to a location by the Riverwalk Grand Pavilion, just south of the VFW. (PN File Photo)

Observe 2023 Veterans Day at Vietnam Wall of Remembrance

This year, the annual Veterans Day ceremony hosted by the Naperville American Legion and the Judd Kendall VFW Post again will be observed at 11AM for Sat., Nov. 11, a time on Veterans Day known as “11-11-11.” For 2023, kindly note that the ceremony, usually held at Veterans Park, will be held at the Vietnam Wall of Remembrance.

For event updates and details, visit napervilleparks.org/vietnamwallofremembrance.

A few notes about Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. 

According to the designers of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., “the wall was to,  (1) that it be reflective and contemplative in character, (2) that it harmonize with its surroundings, especially the neighboring national memorials, (3) that it contain the names of all who died or remain missing, and (4) that it make no political statement about the war.”

Veterans on the Honor Flight and individuals who have visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., are touched to find that its walls uniquely point toward the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial as a memorable way to pay tribute to the history of these United States.

The names are inscribed in the chronological order of their dates of casualty, showing the war as a series of individual human sacrifices and giving each name a special place in history. The same will apply to the Vietnam Wall of Remembrance.

The Naperville Park District contributed to this story. As plans develop, watch for more stories.

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Naperville Park District
Naperville Park Districthttp://www.napervilleparks.org/
Created in 1966, the Naperville Park District is an independent, municipal agency serving the recreation needs of its residents. An Illinois Distinguished Agency since 1994, the District is one of only 1% of park districts across the country to be nationally accredited through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). The Naperville Park District’s mission is to provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community. The District maintains and operates more than 2,400 acres with 137 parks and provides more than 1,500 recreational, arts and environmental programs and special events annually. Included within the District’s operations are two championship golf courses, a multitude of playgrounds, trails, athletic courts and sports fields, Fort Hill Activity Center, Knoch Knolls Nature Center, two inline skating and skateboarding facilities, the Millennium Carillon, a paddle boat quarry, historic Centennial Beach, and the beautiful Riverwalk.