Kingston, N.Y. – More than 50 years after its conclusion, feelings and emotions regarding the war in Vietnam are still raw for many and The Vietnam Travelling Memorial Wall has become a powerful symbol of healing, patriotism and remembrance. Today, County Executive Mike Hein announced that the County has arranged for The Vietnam Travelling Memorial Wall to be displayed in Saugerties this summer. The Vietnam Travelling Memorial Wall is a three-fifths scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., reaching 6 feet high at its apex and stretching almost three hundred feet from end to end and bears the names of over 58,000 service members who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War. The somber installation will welcome visitors July 18 – 23 at the Cantine Veterans Memorial Complex in Saugerties.
Michael P. Hein, Ulster County Executive
“Ulster County will never forget our Veterans,” said County Executive Mike Hein. “Bringing The Vietnam Travelling Memorial Wall to Ulster County is a small gesture of gratitude and respect for our Veterans many of whom have friends whose names appear on the wall. Our local Veterans and residents who may not have the opportunity to visit the national Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. will now have a chance to pay their respects to those listed on the monument who we owe so much. I invite all of our residents to join me in July at what will undoubtedly be a deeply moving and emotional experience.”
Robert Black, Vietnam Veteran and member of Tilson American Legion Post 1219
“I served in Vietnam and saw members of my unit, my friends, killed in action. Even though it was so long ago I still think of them. I have always wanted to visit the national Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. to see their names listed but have never had the opportunity, now I will get the chance to see my friends’ names on the Wall and that will finally give me a sense of closure,” said Robert Black.
Greg Helsmoortel, Town of Saugerties Supervisor
“Saugerties is truly honored to host The Vietnam Travelling Memorial Wall this summer and I want to thank the County Executive for placing his trust in us and selecting the Cantine Veterans Memorial Complex for this privilege,” said Greg Helsmoortel, Town of Saugerties Supervisor.
Steve Massee, Ulster County Veterans’ Service Agency Director
“The Wall is an iconic tribute to the service members killed in action in Vietnam, and has become a connection to their bothers in arms who made it home,” Steve Massee, Ulster County Veterans’ Service Agency Director. “The Wall is sacred, emotional and powerful for Vietnam combat Veterans who came home to a country which at the time, did not appreciate their service and sacrifice. The Wall has had a gradual healing influence on Vietnam Veterans, and helped the Country come to a long overdue conviction of ‘thank you’ and ‘welcome home’ to the over 2 million veterans who served in Vietnam. I hope every Vietnam Veteran in Ulster County visits the Travelling Wall next July, to honor those ‘who gave all’ and continue the healing.”
Frank Reggero, American Legion Post 72 Commander
“I cannot think of a better place in Ulster County or for that matter the Hudson Valley to display, honor and recognize the ultimate sacrifice of our Nation’s Vietnam War Veterans than Cantine Veterans Memorial Complex. Lamouree-Hacket American Legion Post 72 and my hometown of Saugerties are honored to have been selected to host this most sacred wartime Veterans Memorial. On behalf of our members, we welcome all those who wish pay tribute and thank the Ulster County Executive, the Town of Saugerties and those who have made this possible,” said Frank Reggero, American Legion Post 72 Commander.
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, before it formally ended on April 30, 1975, 2.7 million servicemen and women served during the war.
Photo (l-r): Carol Olszanecki; Chris Allen, Ulster County Legislator; Asunta Boice; County Executive Mike Hein; Frank Reggero, American Legion Post 72 Commander; Steve Massee, Ulster County Veterans’ Service Agency Director; Greg Chorvas, Town of Saugerties Parks and Buildings Superintendent; Greg Helsmoortel, Town of Saugerties Supervisor; Robert Black, Vietnam Veteran and member of Tilson American Legion Post 1219; Keith Bennett, Ulster County Veterans’ Service Agency Deputy Director; Jimmy Bruno, Town of Saugerties Board Member; Fred Costello, Town of Saugerties Board Member