The Veterans National Memorial Shrine and Museum officially dedicated its permanent Vietnam Wall in Fort Wayne on Saturday, May 29.
The Hagerman Group started construction on the 80 percent replica of the original wall in Washington D.C. in November of 2020. The structure is 360 feet long and 8 feet high at its tallest point. The base and walls are made of solid concrete, and the anodized aluminum panels are attached to the face of the wall. These 72 panels in total contain the 58,320 names of fallen heroes of the Vietnam War. An 8-foot-wide concrete sidewalk runs continuously in front of the structure. Nine flags fly above the wall and are lit at night with solar lighting.
The ceremony started with the flag raising by the Honor Guard from Wayne High School JROTC, Civil Air Patrol Fort Wayne Composite Squadron GLR 201. The program featured the national anthem performed by Angi Newkirk, prayer by Chaplin Marc Tjaden and Bagpipers from the Mizpah Shrine playing “Amazing Grace.”
The program featured speakers instrumental in coordinating the construction and funding to build the structure and completion of the new parking facilities surrounding the memorial grounds:
- Mark Hagerman, Chairman Emeritus, The Hagerman Group
- Doug McKibben, President and CEO of Glenbrook Automotive Group
- Nelson Peters, Allen County Commissioner
- Urban Ley, Superintendent of Crosby Excavating
The wall was unveiled after Victor Alvarez performed TAPS.
The American Legion Band of Fort Wayne performed, the American Huey 369 Organization from Peru, Ind. displayed Vietnam Huey UH-1H Helicopters, and Vietnam re-enactors were present on the memorial grounds over the weekend.
Photos courtesy of Michael Thena.