Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Gov. Beshear Welcomes Traveling Vietnam War Memorial Wall
Wall on display at Kentucky Horse Park 24 hours a day through 3 p.m. Sunday, July 12
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Traveling Vietnam Wall is a place for all Kentuckians to recognize and honor Vietnam veterans, their families and friends, Governor Steve Beshear said today at the Kentucky Horse Park.
“You don’t have to be a Vietnam Veteran to find appreciation and inspiration at this Wall,” Gov. Beshear said. “Standing here, reading the names, thinking about those who gave their lives and those who came home, is one of the most moving and humbling experiences you can have.”
Gov. Beshear also recognized Don Jenkins, of Morgantown, who received the Medal of Honor for valorous conduct in the Vietnam War and attended Friday’s ceremony. Retired Brig. Gen. Dan Cherry and retired Maj. Gen. Arnold Fields also spoke.
The American Veterans Traveling Tribute wall’s visit to the Kentucky Horse Park is sponsored by the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs (KDVA), through a grant from the Kentucky Veterans Program Trust Fund.
The wall is an 80-percent scale model of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington, D.C. Eight feet high and 360 feet long, it provides an electronic locator to help visitors find the names of particular service members carved in the wall.
“It is thanks to Gov. Beshear’s strong support of the Vietnam Commemoration and KDVA that we are able to bring the Traveling Vietnam Wall to Lexington,” said KDVA Commissioner Heather French Henry. “It symbolizes so much for so many people, but not least the respect and thanks Kentuckians have for Vietnam veterans.”
Several events are scheduled throughout the wall’s time at the Horse Park:
- There will be a candlelight service at 9 p.m. Friday, July 10.
- On Saturday, Athena’s Sisters will hold a Women Veterans Remembered event at the Wall starting at 5 p.m.
- At 9 p.m. Saturday, there will be a Gold Star Mothers candlelight service.
- At 9 a.m. on Sunday, there will be a sunrise service.
- Following a closing ceremony at noon, the Traveling Wall will close at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 12.
Visitors to the Traveling Wall are encouraged to leave photographs, flowers or other mementos to loved ones. KDVA asks that everyone attending this special showing of the Memorial Wall respect the request of the Wall’s sponsors to not bring weapons when they visit.
Visitors to the Traveling Wall and the opening ceremony will be able to enter the Horse Park and park free of charge. The exhibit opened at noon July 9 and remains open 24 hours a day through its closing Sunday.
More than 1,000 Kentuckians died in the Vietnam War. In addition to appearing on the Traveling Wall, their names are inscribed at the permanent memorial in Frankfort, where a shadow falls on each veteran’s name on the anniversary of death. There are approximately 111,000 Vietnam veterans living in the Commonwealth, and many continue to serve their communities and fellow veterans through volunteerism, counseling and camaraderie.
This year, Gov. Beshear proclaimed March 30, 2015, as Vietnam Veterans’ Day in Kentucky, as part of Kentucky’s partnership in the 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemoration. Last September, more than 500 veterans, family and friends commemorated that anniversary in a ceremony at the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Frankfort.
Gov. Beshear’s administration has worked hard to show support and appreciation for veterans and military families, in ways large and small. For example, Gov. Beshear, state and federal officials this year announced the launch of telemental health services out of the Joseph “Eddie” Ballard Western Kentucky Veterans Center in Hanson, part of an effort to expand mental health services to veterans in western Kentucky. KDVA operates three state veterans nursing homes and is in the process of building a fourth, in Radcliff. Construction began in July 2013; the facility is expected to open in early 2016.