‘A place of healing’ is legacy of Wall replica

By Ronald MacArthur

The Moving Wall will come to Seaford on Sunday, Sept. 12, with a motorcycle escort followed by a welcoming ceremony at Bob Dowd Stadium at 1 p.m. The escort will start at Dover Downs where organizers will meet The Moving Wall’s transport truck at 11 a.m. and follow U.S. 13 into Seaford. According to Seaford Mayor Dan Short, one of the organizers of the escort and welcoming ceremony, the event should be something to see. Those wanting to participate in the escort should assemble in the area of Dover Downs before 11 a.m. Bikers in this area are leaving as a group from the Seaford Harley-Davidson shop on U.S. 13 at 9 a.m. He said that the escort bringing The Moving Wall to Salisbury two years ago stretched for miles along Rt. 50. “It will be a non-stop ride with police monitoring all of the intersections,” he said. “If it’s a nice day, we should have a great turn out. It’s a non-political, patriotic event.” The escort will enter Seaford on U.S. 13A, proceed south, turn onto Virginia Avenue, and then then right on Market Street. Parking will be in the high school and middle school parking lots. Short is hoping that people will line the streets and roads waving U.S. flags “to join in on the welcome.” Short said that everyone is invited to attend the welcoming ceremony at Bob Dowd Stadium starting at 1 p.m. The Delaware State Police Drum and Bagpipe Corps will perform and there will other patriotic music. The actual viewing of The Moving Wall starts on Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 8 a.m. in the Seaford Sports Complex off Market Street Ext. in the Ross Business Park. Benet (Bennett) McCormick, who is from Seaford and is the manager of the Ocean City Harley Davidson Shop, is heading up the effort to bring The Moving Wall to Seaford. She also led the effort to bring it to Salisbury two years ago. The Harley-Davidson dealerships owned by her father Spuck Bennett in Seaford, Ocean City and Rehoboth Beach are the major sponsor of the event. The timing also coincides with Delmarva Bike Week in Ocean City, the busiest time of the year for her and her staff. So why go to all the effort? “It’s hard to explain,” McCormick said. “Once you go you will understand. It’s how you feel inside when you see the wall. It’s unbelievable. “I first saw it in Florida several years ago and it really made an impact on me,” she added. She said that the comments from people who visit The Moving Wall gave her the idea to head up an effort to go through the process again in her hometown. Many people have never seen the actual Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. (dedicated on Nov. 13, 1982). “For many people and veterans, it’s the first chance for them to see the memorial. You can’t believe how many people have come up to me and said how much it meant to them and how much it helped them. It helps with the healing process,” she said. Information about The Moving Wall is on the web at www.theseafordmovingwall.com. In addition, there will be military equipment displays on site, volunteers to assist people with locating names on the wall, and a History Channel series on the Vietnam War will be shown continuously in a tent on site.

SCHEDULE (Except for Sept. 14, The Moving Wall is open 24 hours a day).
The Rev. John Steer will be on hand Sept. 14-16 to speak with civic and school groups who make reservations ahead of time. The Last Patrol will perform a reenactment Sept. 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 two times - one at dusk and another to be posted at the site.

Tuesday, Sept. 14
8 a.m. - Wall opens
6 p.m. - Opening ceremony
Wednesday, Sept. 15
7 p.m. - Capt. Charles Plumb, POW for six years
Thursday, Sept. 16
6 p.m. - Gold Star Mothers ceremony (mothers who have lost a child in conflict)
Friday, Sept. 17
6 p.m. - Vietnam Veterans of America flag folding ceremony
Saturday, Sept. 18
7 p.m. - Capt. Gerald Coffee, POW for seven years
Sunday, Sept. 19
5 p.m. - Salisbury Community Band patriotic songs
Monday, Sept. 20
Noon - Wall takedown for its next destination - Oak Ridge, N.J.
Capt. Gerald Coffee
Capt. Gerald Coffee was a POW in Vietnam for seven years, being held captive in the infamous Hanoi Hilton POW camp. He was shot down in early 1966 over North Vietnam while flying a combat mission from the USS Kitty Hawk in the Tonkin Gulf. He was among the first group of repatriated POWs on Feb. 12, 1973. Since his return he has received a masters degree in political science, graduated from the National War College and commanded his own squadron at Naval Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii. He currently serves as a public affairs officer on the staff of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet. He has shared his message of positive lessons to hundreds of thousands of people and has written a book, “Beyond Survival: Building on Hard Times.” His message centers on the fact that people are capable of much more than they give themselves credit for. He has received many military and humanitarian awards.

Capt. Charles Plumb
With only five days remaining on his tour and after 74 successful combat missions, Capt. Charles Plumb was shot down and stayed in various North Vietnamese POW camps for nearly six years. Since his return home, he has spoken to more than 4,000 audiences drawing parallels between his POW experience and the challenges of everyday life. He has appeared on several network and cable television talk shows including Larry King Live and Nightline. He has written several books and is the recipient of many military and civilian awards.

The Rev. John Steer
The Rev. John Steer was severely wounded in the battle of Hill 875 in November, 1967. After lying wounded for two days under dead bodies, he was finally rescued and flown to a hospital where surgeons operated on him for five hours. He lost his right arm and one leg was damaged badly. He spent nearly two years in various hospitals and spent another five years battling alcohol and drug abuse, fear, and guilt. Since 1980 he and his wife Donna have traveled throughout the United States and 27 countries preaching. The couple was awarded a Presidential Point of Light by President Bush for their work with veterans. He is national chaplain for VietNow and is director of Living Word Christian Ministries. He spent 17 days ministering to thousands of victims and family members in New York City following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. He is also an accomplished singer, song writer, speaker and author.

The Last Patrol
The Last Patrol is a group of Vietnam veterans from the Suncoast Vietnam Veterans Association from the Tampa Bay, Fla, area. The group performs reenactments at selected veterans events out of respect “for their bothers and sisters who did not make it home from distant lands.”

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