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"Moving Wall" Memorial Coming To Shelbyville



SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. –The Moving Wall, the half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., is scheduled to be in Shelbyville from October 30-November 3, 2008.  It will be open to the public at Riverwalk Park behind the Fly Building, home of the Shelbyville-Bedford County History Museum.

In 1982 John Devitt, a former helicopter door gunner and Army veteran, visited Washington, DC for the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and to participate in the National Salute to Vietnam Veterans. This visit and experience changed Devitt's life and led to the creation of the "Moving Wall," which has since moved millions of people.

The Moving Wall was first displayed in 1984 in Texas as part of the Tyler Rose Festival. "We hadn't even put up the fifth panel when a Gold Star Mother placed a beautifully decorated candle at the base of the panel where her son's name was inscribed," Devitt recalls. Just like the Wall in Washington, people began to leave mementoes, so many, in fact, that Devitt decided to have them shipped to the Moving Wall's off season home in San Jose, CA. He hopes to build a museum to display the items, but for now concentrates on making sure the Moving Wall travels to as many cities as possible.

The wall contains the names of the 58,253 persons who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country during the Vietnam era, including 12 from Bedford County.

The local effort to bring the Moving Wall to Shelbyville is spearheaded by Gene Williams of the Shelbyville-Bedford County History Museum.  Williams and the museum are accepting donations to help defray the costs of bringing the memorial to Shelbyville. The Celebration® recently made a donation to the effort.  “These are the type of community projects we’re so very proud to be part of,” said Celebration Director Henry Hulan, III.  “Having the Moving Wall in our town is an honor and will have great meaning to all our citizens.

For more information or to make donations, contact Williams at 931-684-8359.  For more information on the wall itself, log on to

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