LEWES, Del.- From May 16-May 20, people won't have to travel to D.C. to memorialize Vietnam veterans.
The Moving Vietnam Veterans Wall arrived at the Lewes ferry terminal Thursday morning. A smaller, mobile replica of the iconic Washington D.C. structure, the moving wall includes the more than 58,000 names of every American killed in the Vietnam War. Twenty-six of those names belong to Sussex Countians.
American Legion Post 17 Auxiliary President Murt Foos says having the wall close to home provides veterans with a sense of comfort.
"They know where this place is. They come here regularly anyway, so they can come to this place pay a tribute," she says. "I've had weeks and weeks of people calling saying 'My buddy's name is on that wall.'"
The wall is located on the ferry terminal's green space. It will be open 24/7 to the public, with volunteers on hand at every hour to help find names or answer questions.
Sgt. Frank Bolen was at the wall's set up and says five of his friends are on Panel 27W--the panel he helped set up. Bolen says seeing the wall in his home county is incredible.
"Twenty years ago, you didn't tell anybody you were a Vietnam vet, because nobody wanted to hear it or they shied away from you," he says. "Now everybody's saying welcome home, they are doing stuff like this, it's unbelievable."
The wall was welcomed with a flyover from Dover A.F.B. and a ceremony that included speeches from Vietnamese veterans who expressed gratitude for their American counterparts. The owner of Minh's Bistro, Thinh Pham, recalled his experiences as an American refugee after the Vietnam War.
"There is literally no way to repay you for what you have done for us and for me personally," he told the crowd. "Minh's Bistro exists at its heart as a tribute to you and your service."
A tribute ceremony for the wall will take place Saturday at 11 a.m.
For more on the Moving Vietnam Veterans Wall, click here.