The wall is of great importance to veterans and area residents, officials emphasized.
“Many of the veterans on that wall — who sacrificed so much — have loved ones here in South Texas,” said David Flores, the city of George West’s consultant on economic development.
However, much like freedom, the traveling wall isn’t coming to Live Oak County for free. It is expected to cost the city of George West and its chamber of commerce around $8,000. George West officials are looking for volunteers to help share these costs.
Ultimately, it’s well worth it, officials said.
This is a joint effort between the Grace Armantrout Museum, George West and the George West Chamber of Commerce (in connection with its Centennial Celebration), area veterans and anyone who wishes to volunteer their time and effort.
This wall replica spans over 360 feet and is credited as being the largest traveling Vietnam Wall memorial in the nation. It is 80 percent the size of the original Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., but has all of the names inscribed on the original.
Having it in George West will allow loved ones to look up the location of their loved one’s names. Sheets and pencils will be available for family and friends to do rubbings of their loved one’s name on the wall.
On Monday, George West Mayor Sylvia Steele and Three Rivers Mayor Sam Garcia joined Kevin Mackey, president of the Grace Armantrout Association and representatives of area veterans groups to discuss specifics of the arrival.
When it arrives in September, the traveling wall will first stop in Three Rivers. From there, a formal escort to its viewing site in George West will begin.
“It will be escorted to the George West staging area by law enforcement,” Steele explained.
It is hoped that veterans can also be part of this special escort, officials said.
Details are still being worked out and more specifics will be announced closer to September. But, ultimately, all local organizations and residents are invited to attend and participate. Those who are interested can contact the Grace Armantrout Museum at (361) 449-3325 or (361) 254-2986.
Organizers also are hoping to hear from area ministers interested in offering invocations at the morning openings and the evening closings of the wall. Ministers who are interested in doing so are asked to contact Mackey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben Tinsley is a reporter for The Progress newspaper in Three Rivers. He can be contacted by email at email@example.com or by phone at 361-786-3022. Tinsley can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BenTinsley, Google at http://plus.google.com/+BenTinsley or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ben.tinsley.12.