June 30, 2012 by Susan O'Leary Time Correspondent
Beginning Tuesday, Purdue University North Central will host the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, the highlight of which is a 360-foot replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The wall, at 80 percent scale, copies the hallmark feature of the original memorial with all the same names of service men and women who died in the conflict.
PNC officials decided to sponsor the exhibit to honor area veterans.
“There is a pretty good contingent of vets at the university and a lot of vets in our area,” said Paul McGuiness, vice chancellor of enrollment management and student services. “Chancellor (James) Dworkin is pretty connected to that and wanted to recognize them.”
McGuiness said the tribute is “inclusive” as it also contains memorials honoring veterans of all wars and conflicts fought by the United States, those killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and law enforcement and firefighters.
The traveling tribute will journey to PNC at 10 a.m. Tuesday from Cabela’s in Hammond, traveling east on the Borman Expressway escorted by more than 600 motorcycles and police and fire department vehicles.
The free exhibit will begin with opening ceremonies at 7 p.m., and will remain open to the public 24 hours-a-day until closing ceremonies Saturday. Scheduled each day are music, activities and guest speakers, including Porter County Sheriff David Lain and Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas. A computer will allow visitors to look up the exact location of names on the wall, and paper and crayons will be available for guests to make rubbings of names of loved ones.
McGuiness said that so far, community response to the event has been “phenomenal,” and veterans groups and other exhibit volunteers have personal connections to the exhibit.
“You hear stories, you see people, they’re still affected and still mourning and missing their loved ones,” said McGuiness. “You can’t help but be moved by that.”
for a complete schedule and additional information about the American Veterans Traveling Tribute.