By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal Corinth Bureau
CORINTH – After welcoming 11,000 visitors in September 2011 when the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall previously came to Corinth, organizers for this week’s return visit can’t estimate how many visitors this event will have.
Support for the Traveling Wall’s return has been enthusiastic, with a number of organizations providing generous donations to raise $15,000 for the project.
The Corinth Area Convention and Visitors Bureau donated $1,000 as a deposit to secure the exhibit dates.
“Fortunately, the hotel donated rooms for the traveling crew again, and Magnolia hospital, Generals’ Quarters, Modern Woodmen and American Legion Riders have been very supportive,” said event Chairman Tom Chartres.
The sponsoring group, Veterans and Family Honors Inc., has raised most of the money through their own fundraising programs and efforts, he said. This is the group that provides military honors at the funerals and memorial services of deceased service members.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars and its women’s auxiliary, American Legion and its women’s auxiliary, Marine Corps League, Patriot Guard, American Legion Riders, Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club and Christian Motorcycle Association have provided substantial support, Chartres said.
The motorcycle groups are providing volunteer services to escort the Traveling Wall from Iuka into Corinth on Wednesday and provide on-site security throughout the Wall’s stay in Corinth. Others are helping to assemble and disassemble the Wall, provide assistance to visitors to find names on the Wall and any other type of help needed.
“The escorts will meet the Wall at Iuka about 2 p.m. Wednesday and are expected to arrive at the site about 2:45 p.m.,” Chartres said. “People are welcome to come and watch them arrive, but set-up won’t begin until 8 a.m. Thursday, and we plan for the Wall to be ready for visitors about noon Thursday.”
A 9 a.m. Friday opening ceremony will feature the Mid-South Navy Band from Millington, Tenn., brief talk by State VFW Commander James Chapman and a wreath-laying ceremony.
The closing ceremony at 9 p.m. Sunday will include singing of the song “50,000 Names Carved In the Wall,” written by Jamie O’Hara and popularized by George Jones, a rifle salute and “Taps.” Featured performers will be the a cappella group Voices of Praise from Tennessee.
“After the closing program the Wall will remain open until about 8 a.m. Monday,” Chartres said.