Rockford Charter Chapter of VietNow is the host for the Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Museum in Loves Park, Illinois. It’s my understanding that Bruce Jacobsen, of VietNow, is the point man on this twice-in-a-lifetime event.

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This is the intersection where E. Riverside splits to the left and continues west while Clifford Ave. splits to the right. I’m sure most locals know where this is. That’s Sand Park on the left. The Wall will be next to Loves Park City Hall.

A caravan of Loves Park police, the Harlem/Roscoe fire department, the Loves Park fire department and tons of motorcycles and cars escorted the Traveling Wall to its 5-day home in Loves Park, Illinois.

Vietnam veteran and VietNow member Dick Martin and his ultra cool Jeep complete with machine gun and whip antenna provided logistical support. As Dick and his Jeep leave you can see our old buddy Darrell Gilgan getting into the action. The guys from VietNow are quite a bunch. Thanks for inviting me to take these pictures. Oh, that’s Steven Franklin standing by somebody’s great 1960 red Chevy Impala.

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Traveling Wall 05

Traveling Wall 06 Traveling Wall 07 Traveling Wall 08 Traveling Wall 09 Traveling Wall 10 Traveling Wall 11 Traveling Wall 12 Traveling Wall 13 Traveling Wall 14 Traveling Wall 15 Traveling Wall 16 Traveling Wall 17 Traveling Wall 18 Traveling Wall 19 Traveling Wall 20 Traveling Wall 21 Traveling Wall 22 Traveling Wall 23 Traveling Wall 24 Traveling Wall 25 Traveling Wall 26 Traveling Wall 27 Traveling Wall 28 Traveling Wall 29 Traveling Wall 30 Traveling Wall 31 Traveling Wall 32 Traveling Wall 33 Traveling Wall 34 Traveling Wall 35 Traveling Wall 36 Traveling Wall 37 Traveling Wall 38 Traveling Wall 39 Traveling Wall 40 Traveling Wall 41 Traveling Wall 42 Traveling Wall 43 Traveling Wall 44 Traveling Wall 45 Traveling Wall 46 Traveling Wall 47 Traveling Wall 48 Traveling Wall 49 Traveling Wall 50 Traveling Wall 51 Traveling Wall 52 Traveling Wall 53 Traveling Wall 54

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SAM_4962 Cropped, The Wall That Heals

Public access will be from Thursday, September 11 through Sunday, September 14, 2014. VietNow’s POW/MIA ceremony will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 12, 2014.  It’s a half-size replica of the Wall in Washington, DC. making it almost 250 long. Over 58,272 names.

While there you can also visit the Gold Star Mothers Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, and the Veterans Memorial commemorating World War I, World War II, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thanks to Rod Schwandt, USAF

Thanks to Rod Schwandt, USAF

Since you’re in the area you should visit one of the largest and best Vietnam veterans memorials. It’s called the LZ Peace Memorial and is located at 6799 Guilford Road, on the grounds of Midway Village Museum.

This is Steve Lee's dad. Steve was killed in 1968 in Vietnam.

This is Steve Lee’s dad. Steve was killed in 1968 in Vietnam.

I always park at Central Christian Church and walk up a little hill where you’ll come across a Huey helicopter that’s a veteran of Vietnam and then walk down the hill where you’ll see a V-shaped monument honoring those Winnebago county veterans who were killed in Vietnam.

VietNow Color Guard at Auburn graduate, John Candiotta's funeral in 2013.

VietNow Color Guard at Auburn graduate, John Candiotta’s funeral in 2013.

Above is the VietNow Color Guard at the funeral of our friend, John Candiotta, a Navy veteran and 1964 Auburn graduate.

LZ Peace is a sight that’ll make you cry and smile at the same time. You’ll cry for the sacrifices made. You’ll smile when you see what veterans can do with support of their community.

Joe and Richard Hoffman.

Joe and Richard Hoffman.

It took Nick Parnello, Tony Bove and the members of the Vietnam Veterans Honor Society over twenty years to get it this far, and one of these days I’ll post all their names. Also there’s more work being done on the memorial to those veterans who died from the effects of Agent Orange. Come on out and see for yourself.

Memorial Day 2013 at LZ Peace Memorial

Memorial Day 2013 at LZ Peace Memorial

It should be an interesting week in Rockford and Loves Park. Thanks for stopping by and please visit these memorials to real American heroes.