By CHRIS AGEE
The public is invited to the fourth annual update of the memorial wall displayed at the National Vietnam War Museum, just east of Mineral Wells on U.S. Highway 180.
Gates open at 8 a.m. and the updated wall will be displayed around noon. Events and demonstrations are planned throughout the morning.
The local Vietnam Memorial Wall, approximately half the size of the original in Washington, D.C., was unveiled May 30, 2009. It initially contained 58,260 names on 70 panels.
Museum officials are required to wait one year after names are added to the Washington wall before the same names are displayed locally. Therefore, the 10 names being added Saturday are already represented in the nation’s capital.
Patriot Guard riders will arrive on the scene at about 9:15, followed a half hour later by a skydiving demonstration by Dana Bowman.
A double-amputee, Bowman is a former U.S. Army Golden Knight. Following his leap from above, he will address the crowd and introduce museum treasurer Jim Messinger.
Monica Harvey will perform a rendition of “Welcome Home,” followed by an introduction of special guests and an invocation by Retired U.S. Army BG James Spivey. Following Harvey’s presentation of the National Anthem, Bill Kane will introduce three keynote speakers.
Remarks by Retired U.S. Army BG Nathan Vail, Retired U.S.M.C. Col. Mant Hawkins, and U.S. Navy Captain Robert A. Bennett will culminate in recognition of military branches and the unveiling of updated wall panels.
At noon, following a rifle salute and playing of “Taps,” attendees will be invited to visit the wall, vendors, and the Tropic Lightning III art exhibit.