Van Nuys, CA - October 16, 2009 - Hundreds of Los Angelenos joined Gold and Blue Star Mothers and MSGT (ret.) Edward Chema, an 85 year old Veteran of three Wars, to erect the replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall and honor our fallen Warriors at Thursday's Opening Ceremony of the Operation Gratitude-American Veterans Traveling Tribute Event. The Exhibit will remain on display today through Sunday at the corner of Victory and Louise in Van Nuys.
Go Country, KKGO's, Shawn Parr and Ashley Paige will be on the site to greet visitors at The Wall today, Friday, from 11am to 1 pm.
Motorcyclists and Classic Car owners are invited to park their vehicles on a special section of the Exhibit grounds and have their pictures taken with their bikes and cars in front of The Wall.
Major General John Harrell, Commander of the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base and California Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield will speak at the Memorial Service on Sunday at 11:00am. MSGT (ret.) Chema will lead the Pledge of Allegiance and the "Ventura Girlz" will perform the National Anthem, followed by a Condor Fly-Over and a Parade of Honor past The Wall.
Operation Gratitude (www.OperationGratitude.com ) is partnering with The American Veterans Traveling Tribute (www.avtt.org ) to present this free and unique opportunity for the Southern California community to pay respect to America's fallen heroes and at the same time express appreciation to our warriors currently serving in harm's way.
Today through Sunday, the American Veterans Traveling Tribute will be on display in the large lot adjacent to the National Guard Armory at the corner of Victory and Louise in Van Nuys. The AVTT Exhibit includes a September 11 tribute, a Cost of Freedom display of Gold Dog Tags (identifying each service member killed since Vietnam), and the centerpiece of the exhibit: An exact replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall (80% scale), displaying all 58,253 names of the men and women killed in the Vietnam War.
The entire event is free to the public. All ages are invited and encouraged to attend this first-ever display of The AVTT Exhibit in Southern California.
Operation Gratitude volunteer activities will occur simultaneously inside the Armory in preparation for the assembly and shipment of Holiday packages the following weekend. AVTT Exhibit attendees (ages 12 and older) are invited to participate in all Operation Gratitude Prep and Assembly activities in the Armory.
Operation Gratitude will provide letter writing materials for children and adults to express their appreciation to Service Members deployed overseas during the Holidays. Snacks, volunteer information and scarf-making lessons will also be available at the Operation Gratitude tables at The Exhibit site.
Girl Scouts will be offering Trophy Nuts for donation to our troops through the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles Gift of Caring Program.