TAHLEQUAH — A motorcycle escort will accompany the Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall replica on its journey to Tahlequah on April 16. The monument will be open to the public from April 17 to 20 at Tommy Thompson Football Field at Sequoyah High School.
According to Pastor Garland Thomas of New Life Worship Center, anyone who wishes may join in.
“We’ll have veterans, patriot guards and biker ministries riding, but anyone who wants can join,” Thomas said.
Interested riders will meet at the Big Chief Truck Stop at Big Cabin at 9 a.m., Thomas said. The wall and its escort will depart Big Cabin at 10 a.m. for the journey to Tahlequah, and are expected to arrive in Tahlequah around noon April 16.
“We welcome all who want ride in the escort. We expect to have car clubs in addition to the motorcycle groups,” Thomas said. He also said those interested in being part of the escort may join in at any point along the route. Beginning at Big Cabin, the wall and its escort will follow U.S. Highway 69 and will pass through Adair, Pryor, Chouteau, Wagoner and Muskogee, and then travel U.S. Highway 62 from Muskogee to Tahlequah.
Thomas served in the United States Army during the Vietnam era, and has been pastor at New Life Worship Center for about 18 years.
The Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall will be in Tahlequah April 17-20 at Sequoyah High School Tommy Thompson Field. The monument is a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It is dedicated to all Americans who served in Vietnam and honors all veterans of the United States military forces. It will be open 24 hours per day for visitors.
The three-quarter-scale replica was created in 1990. The faux-granite likeness of the original is 240 feet in length and eight feet in height. The names of more than 58,000 Americans who died or are missing in Vietnam have been inscribed on the replica’s black mirror-like surface. While the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is one of the most-visited sites in Washington D.C., millions of Americans will never see or experience the impact of the wall firsthand.
“Bringing the replica to cities across the country is a way for Dignity Memorial providers to give back to the communities they serve,” said Rodney Mattox, manager of Reed-Culver Funeral Home. “Additionally, we want to help commemorate the lives lost in Vietnam and honor the service of our nation’s veterans,” Mattox said.
For more information regarding the escort, call Thomas at (918) 931-7602.