SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — If you are looking to honor fallen soldiers who served in the Vietnam War, there’s a way for you to do that here in Shreveport.
On Wednesday, the wall was escorted in by veterans who are a part of multiple biker organizations and law enforcement agencies.
“I get about 250 to 300 requests a year for us to go places,” said Richard Russo, who manages The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall.
Russo is part of Vietnam and All Veterans of Brevard, the Florida group that owns the wall. He’s traveled throughout the country with the wall for more than 10 years.
“We literally had rocket scientists design the wall,” Russo said. “(From) how it was going to stand, (to) how we were going to brace it, (to) how everything loaded up in the trailer."
Theresa Neff, of Veterans for Veterans, got in touch with Russo two years ago to ask that the wall be brought to Shreveport.
“It’s a replica of Washington, D.C. And a lot of people don’t get to go to Washington, D.C. So I think it’s important for them to be able to get the feel of what happened and get the history of whole Vietnam War,” Neff said.
The wall — a 3/5 replica of The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. — measures 288′ long and 6′ tall in the center and holds the names of more than 58,000 men and women who died during the Vietnam War.
For 2.5 hours, veterans including George McDermott helped build the traveling wall outside the Shreveport church.
“It’s good to do this and to honor the fallen,” said the Navy veteran who builds custom models for fellow veterans. “I think a lot of people will appreciate it. I hope they do.”
Russo hopes people who stop by the traveling wall exhibit get the healing they need from being there.
“It’s the things that family members and our vets have been carrying around for 50+ years now,” he said. “Whether they lost a husband or a brother, or a father or somebody they were in the service with, they get to come out here and talk to them for a weekend.”
The wall will be available to view 24 hours a day until Monday. Russo will start taking it down at 8 a.m. that day.
And he needs volunteers to help him do so. Anyone who wants to help can just stop by the church that morning.
► Veterans for Veterans will host a family-friendly biker event Saturday at Riverpark Church, 3232 E. 70th St. in Shreveport.
► It will start at 9 a.m.
► All the proceeds from the event will go to locally hospitalized veterans.