Indian Trail post needs funds to host traveling memorial
Men who gave years to fight for their country are asking residents for donations, in order to host a memorial for those who didn’t come home. The Indian Trail Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2423 has been selected to host the “Moving Wall”, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that tours the country each year. Indian Trail will host the memorial June 14 to 18.
“It’s quite an honor to be selected,” Post Senior Vice Commander Brian Boze said. “There were 18 soldiers from Union County that didn’t return home (from Vietnam). This will give respect and closure to their families.”
Boze served as a captain in the Army for Operation Iraqi Freedom, stationed in Kuwait and later in Iraq. Soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan received the respect and welcome they deserved upon returning, Boze said, but the troops whose names are listed on that memorial didn’t get that chance.
“I had an army band waiting for me on the tarmac,” Boze said. “These ladies and gentlemen never received that.”
The “Moving Wall” was created in 1984 as a way for people who couldn’t travel to Washington to pay their respects to the soldiers who gave their lives for the country in Vietnam. Indian Trail last hosted the memorial in 2007, when 35,000 people attended, Boze said.
But in order to host the memorial, Post 2423 needs to raise an estimated $40,000. They have to hire contract sheriff’s deputies to help with crowd management and also contract with EMS in case of any injuries. They also need to do renovations to Veterans Memorial Park, which is where the memorial will be displayed, behind the Post at 100 VFW Lane. This time, Boze estimates, there will be 50,000 people or more viewing the memorial during the five days.
“We’ve got some things we need to do to bring it up to speed to host the event,” Boze said. “We will have lines that extend all the way to the road.”
Speaking to the Indian Trail town council during its Tuesday, Jan. 24 meeting, Boze asked for help, both from the council and local residents.
“We need to raise about $40,000 by the end of May. Right now we’re at $728,” Boze said. “We’re doing yard sales, we’re doing everything we can. When we hosted it last time, we had ten months. We’re really up against a time crunch.”
Town council members agreed to help, unanimously voting to give $7,500 to the VFW and also waiving all permit fees for the event. Council members also instructed town manager Joe Fivas to look into ways they could possibly do some in-kind donations, helping with services.
“Money shouldn’t be something you have to worry about,” Mayor Pro Tem David Cohn told Boze.
His comments were echoed by council member Robert Allen, who felt that paying tribute to the fallen soldiers was the least people could do.
“I watched my buddies that (went), some of them paid the price when they came home,” Allen said, speaking of the reaction Vietnam veterans received for serving in an unpopular war.
The memorial will arrive in the area on June 14, where it will first be part of an official “welcome home” ceremony at Charlotte Motor Speedway, for the surviving Vietnam veterans. Then at 2 p.m., soldiers from the VFW will escort to to Veterans Memorial Park in Indian Trail, where it will stay until June 18.
Any residents who want to donate or offer any type of assistance can contact the VFW at 704-821-9753 or visit the website at www.vfwpost2423.com.