Trust us and try to avoid U.S. 1 between 10 and 11 a.m. Sunday, April 11 when the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall winds its way from Eastern Florida State College’s Cocoa campus to Wickham Park.
The arrival of the wall at the Melbourne park presages the start of the Florida Vietnam and All Veterans Annual Reunion, which runs April 15 to 18.
To escort the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, about 1,200 motorcyclists, a majority of them organizations such as the American Legion, the ’Nam Knights and others, convene at EFSC before the 38-foot trailer carrying the 288-foot aluminum wall takes off at 10 a.m. sharp. Also accompanying are firetrucks, military trucks and cars.
“Every once in a while we get a helicopter overhead, too,” said Richard “Doc” Russo, who manages the Wall’s appearances across the country.
The Wall’s journey to Wickham Park takes it across Michigan Avenue in Cocoa to U.S. 1, where it will travel to Parkway Drive and then on to Wickham Road to enter Wickham Park by Leisure Way. Police will set up rolling roadblocks along U.S. 1 to minimize impact to traffic, but should you happen to be in the area around that time, be prepared to exercise patience.
The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, unveiled in 2006, replicates the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C., in three-fifths scale. All 58,311 men and women who lost their lives during the conflict are listed. The Wall is one of four large-scale replicas of the Vietnam Wall in the United States.
Before noon April 11, the Traveling Wall will have arrived at Wickham Park, where volunteers are always welcome for the setup, which is usually by 3 p.m. the same day.
Every year, the Vietnam Traveling Wall is viewed by thousands across the United States. The reunion at Wickham Park draws more than 80,000 veterans.
For more information visit travelingwall.us or call 321-652-4185.