Fourth of July brings locals, travelers to Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall in Springfield

Published: Jul. 4, 2020 at 10:24 PM CDT
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Thursday morning, Michelle Phelan hopped on her motorcycle and rode from Shreveport, Louisiana to right here in Springfield.

"Every Time I find out there's a wall. I heard it from y'all so we came up," said Michelle Phelan.

She lost her husband, a Vietnam and Gulf War Veteran 10 years ago to Agent Orange.

"There's friends of his that I know that are here and we just come to check in," said Phelan.

While the original Vietnam Wall is in Washington D.C.there's a traveling wall that made a stop right here in the Ozarks at the American Legion Post 639.

"It's something that we wanted to do for the community," said Nolan Moody.

Legion member and Vietnam Veteran, Nolan Moody has seen the Vietnam Wall several times but said each time the emotions are still there.

"When you see a number you see 55,314 number. It's a number. When you come out and see the wall and all the names on it, it's different," said Moody.

Like Moody, Dave Davies knows exactly where his loved one is on the wall.

"My mom's cousin is panel 28 row 15," said Dave Davies.

Davies participates each year in the "Run for the Wall" where he and hundreds of others ride their motorcycles across the country to the Vietnam Wall in D. Along the way they're educating future generations on those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

"It's been a mission from the heart to do," said Davies.

Vietnam Veteran Gary Richardson also wants to keep it alive for his grandchildren.

"It's good for them to know why we were there, what we did while we were there and what our freedom comes from," said Gary Richardson.

The American Legion brought the traveling wall here to springfield in 20-15 with around 30,000 visitors.

Doc Russo is the man behind the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall and brings it to several cities around the country each year.

"The people. Listening to the stories is my favorite thing. The stories I hear from people. I have this thing called my Little Wall Miracles. Something happens every place I go that tells me I made the right choice to bring it," said Doc Russo with the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall.

There will be several ceremonies Sunday afternoon starting at 1 p.m. The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall will be in Springfield until Monday at 8 a.m.

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