Two soldiers from Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base (JFTB) participated in the opening ceremony for an exhibition of The Moving Wall in Garden Grove Park on Thursday, October 6.
The exhibition of the half-sized traveling replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., was sponsored by the City of Garden Grove and the Vietnam War Museum of America Foundation (VWMAF). The Foundation is raising funds to build a permanent Vietnam War museum in Garden Grove.
The two soldiers representing the JFTB, Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Wallis and Master Sergeant Juan De Jesus, participated in a wreath-laying ceremony with Garden Grove Mayor William Dalton and two family members of an American serviceman listed as MIA during the Vietnam War. The serviceman is still missing and remains on the official MIA list
Lieutenant Colonel Wallis is a member of th,e 40th Infantry Division stationed at the JFTB. Master Sergeant De Jesus is a member of the JFTB’s headquarters staff.
Also on hand was Staff Sergeant Tan Vo, a member of the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion at the Garden Grove recruiting station. Sergeant Vo read the names of each of the 41 servicemen from Garden Grove who were killed during the Vietnam War.
The Garden Grove Police Department Color Guard opened the ceremony. After the Pledge of Allegiance, the national anthem was sung by Tim Kepler.
A P-51 Mustang, a single-seater World War II fighter-bomber, made several passes over the park prior to an invocation by a local pastor and the wreath-laying ceremony.
The Orange County Fire Authority Pipes and Drums played while the two wreaths were laid.
Staff Sergeant Vo then read the names of the “Garden Grove 41” as a Boy Scout rang a bell. Other Scouts, both boys and girls, laid a rose on the ground in front of the panel on The Moving Wall bearing the name just read.
A guest speaker described his experience as a door gunner during the war, followed by a benediction and a twenty-one gun salute in three volleys by members of the Garden Grove Police Department.
The ceremony ended with a lone bagpiper playing “Taps” as a riderless horse was led in to stand briefly with the Color Guard before the colors were retired.
The Moving Wall exhibition closed at 4 p.m. on Monday, October 10, but the effort to raise money for a Vietnam War museum in Garden Grove goes on.
For more information about the Vietnam War Museum of America, visit vietnam.garden-grove.org online.
Garden Grove Mayor William Dalton and U.S.Army Lieutenant Colonel Sameul Wallis after laying a wreath at The Moving Wall.
More photos of the opening ceremony are available at the OC Breeze Flickr photo stream.