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Wall erected at Westfield Valencia Town Center; visitors already arriving

Dedication begins at 6 p.m. tonight

Posted: September 26, 2013 1:28 p.m.
Updated: September 26, 2013 1:28 p.m.

A visitor to the AVTT Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall at the Westfield Valencia Town Center finds the name of a loved one Thursday. A dedication ceremony is scheduled at 6 p.m. Thursday. Mallory Fencil/For The Signal

SANTA CLARITA - “Those aren’t names — they’re people.”

Chuck Morris stands in front of the 14 empty chairs that signify the 14 Santa Clarita Valley residents killed during the Vietnam War.

The 14 chairs were among those set up for the audience expected tonight for the dedication of the AVTT Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall. But the 14 chairs are roped off. Each contains the name of a local serviceman who died in the war.
Volunteers began assembling the traveling wall at 8 a.m. today at the corner of Magic Mountain Parkway and Citrus Street, where it will be on display 24 hours a day until Sunday.

Two hours later, it was fully assembled.

“It was amazing seeing it erected,” Morris said.

Residents have already begun to flock to the parking lot and have started to pay their respects, bringing their children and looking for specific names.

A stage stands in front of the memorial and volunteers have been setting up chairs and booths around the parking lot, readying for the 6 p.m. dedication at which Vietnam War veteran Bill Reynolds will speak and Morris — a Korean War veteran who spent a year arranging the arrival of the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall — will be honored.

A squadron of World War II-era Condors is due to fly over the ceremony.

At 8 p.m. today, the live reading of the names on the wall will begin. For the first time, all 58,286 names on the AVTT Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall will be read aloud by volunteers. The name readings will continue 24 hours a day while the wall is in Santa Clarita.

"We finally have all the shifts filled,” Morris said of the time frames needed for the 24-hour-a-day readings. “A few days ago we had some holes, especially in (the morning) hours.”

“It’s never, ever been done before,” he said.




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