Vietnam Wall of Southwest Florida Dedication Ceremony & Celebratory Event, November 5, 2016
PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (October 25, 2016) – The Vietnam Wall of Southwest Florida will be dedicated on November 5, 2016, beginning at 8:30 a.m. with a Walk of Honor from Laishley Marina to the Wall site in Laishley Park (100 Nesbit Street). Each person participating in the walk will carry a card with the name of a service member whose name is on the Wall.
At 9:00 a.m., Rolling Thunder, an advocacy group that seeks to bring full accountability for prisoners of war and missing in action service members of all U.S. wars, will ride by the dedication site.
At 10:00 a.m. a Warbird flyover of ex-military vintage aircraft planes is scheduled to take flight.
Major General Richard E. Carr, Vietnam veteran and President of Vietnam Wall of Southwest Florida, Inc., will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the dedication.
Remarks from dignitaries and the official presentation of the Memorial will be followed by a UH-1 helicopter fly-over and a 21-gun salute. Guns and Hoses, a pipe and drum unit will play the songs of each branch of Military Service. The dedication will close with the playing of Taps.
A dedicated lot for handicap parking is available at the southwest corner of Nesbit and Retta Esplanade, directly across from the Memorial site.
The dedication is free and open to the public and will be held rain or shine. Complimentary trolley service will be available beginning at 8:30 a.m. from the parking garage at Herald Court Centre, The last trolley run from Laishley Park will be at Noon.
Following the ceremony, Veterans’ Fest, an all-day celebration of the men and women who have defended and are defending our country, will be held at Laishley Park. A collaboration with iHeart Media and the City of Punta Gorda, the family-friendly event will feature live entertainment, a kids’ area, business and craft vendors and plenty of food and beverages. Admission is $5 per person.
Founded in 1979 by Vietnam veteran Jan Scruggs, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial fund raised nearly $9-million for the construction of a permanent memorial in Washington, D.C., to “acknowledge and recognize the service and sacrifice of all who served in Vietnam.”
Designed by then Yale undergraduate, May Ying Lin, the Wall was officially opened to the public in November 13, 1982, chronologically listing the names of more than 58,000 Americans who gave their lives in service to their country. Through Memorial Day 2015, another 368 names were added to the Wall. An additional eight have been added in 2016.
Current locations of replicas include:
- Wildwood, New Jersey
- Pensacola, Florida
- Enid, Oklahoma
- Winfield, Kansas
- Dinuba, California
- Naperville, Illinois
Punta Gorda’s half-scale replica is located in Laishley Park on the Peace River and adheres to the criteria set forth for the design of the original Memorial:
- Be reflective and contemplative in character
- Harmonize with its surroundings
- Contain the names of those who had died in the conflict or who were still missing
- Make no political statement about the war
More than $650,000 in cash and in-kind contributions were raised to construct the wall. The City of Punta Gorda donated engineering and site preparation services. The County donated $50,000 and the state of Florida donated $150,000. Additional revenues from events and activities in support of the wall will go toward a perpetual maintenance fund.
Guns n Hoses Pipes n Drums was created in September 2011 buy a few members who had performed at Fire and Police Funerals and wanted to organize a volunteer group on SW Florida to attend such events. They are active and retired firefighters, law enforcement officers, military veterans, EMS and patriots.
Stacy L. Jones
Community Relations Director
Major General Richard Carr
President, Vietnam Wall of Southwest Florida