Archive for Sunday, September 8, 1996


September 8, 1996


The Moving Wall has been as close to Lawrence as Emporia and as far away as Guam. It's drawn more than 300,000 visitors at some sites and as few as 12,000 at others.

So what is it? And where does it come from? Here are some fast facts about the wall:

IN THE BEGINNING -- The wall was created by John Devitt, a Vietnam veteran who served as a helicopter gunner in 1968 and 1969. Devitt, of San Jose, Calif., came up with the idea while attending the dedication of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The wall, built by Devitt and two other veterans, debuted on Oct. 15, 1984, in Tyler, Tex.

SPECIFICATIONS -- Consisting of 74 black aluminum panels, the Moving Wall is a half-scale replica of the national monument. Names of the 58,196 American casualties and soldiers listed as missing in action are silk-screened onto the wall's face in epoxy-based ink that slightly raises the letters.

The wall is 252 feet long, is 6 feet high in the center and tapers to 3 foot panels on each end.

It weights about 6,300 pounds and is installed in a channel anchored to the ground with large stakes.

STOPS -- Devitt has taken the wall to 48 states, Guam, Canada, Puerto Rico and Saipan, among other places. Stops in Kansas include Emporia and Girard.

Actually, the wall coming to Tonganoxie next month is one of three that travel simultaneously.

RULES AND REGULATIONS -- To bring the wall to town, communities must pay a $2,650 display fee and agree to not place any commercial enterprises, including advertising, near the wall site.

"The people whose names are on the wall, they didn't die so that somebody could make a profit," Devitt said.

He said the display fee covered the cost of shipping, insurance and other costs related to the monument.

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