Looking to support fellow veterans and educate Santa Clarita Valley youth, Chuck Morris, of Santa Clarita is bringing a Vietnam War memorial wall to Santa Clarita.
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“It’s amazing how big this event has become — from an idea to fruition — it’s amazing,” said Morris, a veteran of the Korean War.
The effort, which is still looking for volunteers, will bring a wall full of names to the Santa Clarita Valley — a 360-foot long, 8-foot high tribute to the 58,238 men and women who died in service during the Vietnam War.
The wall will be erected in the Valencia Town Center parking lot, near the intersection of Town Center Drive and Citrus Street, for four days, Sept. 26-29, he said.
“The reason that I wanted to do this is three-fold,” said Morris, who also helps organize an annual Memorial Day parade with the Friendly Valley Veterans Squad in Friendly Valley.
“The first was for people who have relatives or people who have relatives on the wall and can’t afford to go to Washington, D.C., so they can see the wall,” Morris said.
“The second reason is what an amazing thing this will be for our city,” Morris said, noting that the SCV has one of the highest per capita veteran populations in the state. “It’s going to bring thousands and thousand to our city to see what a great city we have.
It’s also about education, he said, noting that most schools don’t include the Vietnam War in their history lessons.
“I also wanted to do this while school’s in,” he said, “so kids can see this and learn from it.”
The effort took $6,000 to reserve the wall from the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, he said, which was gathered through community support.
The first thousand came from the veterans squad, he works with, the second thousand dollars came from the Santa Clarita Valley Veteran’s Memorial Committee, after Morris contacted Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar, who’s also a veteran. The third thousand came from VFW Post 6885.
The Habitat for Humanity of San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, which is in the midst of building 87 homes for veterans in Santa Clarita also pitched in $1,000, and so did Don Fleming, co-owner of Valencia Acura, who pledged a minimum of $1,000, Morris said.
The third thousand came from various other donations, Morris said, noting that if people still wanted to get involved, there’s a great need for volunteers, and more events associated with the wall that will be announced as the dates draw near.
Those who would like to participate are encouraged to come to Santa Clarita’s City Hall from 3-3:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every month.
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“Now we have to start getting things together,” Morris said. “We’re going to need tons and tons of volunteers.”
So the outpouring of support has been great, Morris said.
“We’re just a 100 percent behind this,” said KHTS co-owner Jeri Seratti Goldman, whom Morris named as a big supporter of the effort.
“As we’ve become involved in the veteran community through our efforts with Habitat for Humanity of the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, we’ve come to hear many first-hand accounts of how Vietnam vets were mistreated upon their return home from service,” she said. “We see this as a great way to thank them for their service and acknowledge their sacrifice for our country, as well as educating Santa Clarita Valley youth about the war.”
More Information about The Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall.