They sacrificed their friends, their families, the best years of their lives and sometimes even life itself. Santa Clarita Valley residents want to thank veterans of the Vietnam War, by showing them that we will never forget that sacrifice.
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The Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall is coming to the Westfield Valencia Town Center from September 26 to 29, and will be open 24 hours a day, with continuous live readings of the 58,238 names.
Arif Halaby, whose company Total Financial Solutions is sponsoring the event, said that they will need a total of about 260 volunteers.
Chuck Morris, one of the organizers of the event, said that reading the names aloud is an important part of the experience.
“I talk to so many veterans that have seen the wall,” he said. “Whenever I say we’re going to read the names, they’re in awe.”
There are number of other ways to help, including traffic control, pet sitting and assistance at the computer kiosks, which will have a catalog of all the names. If you are a Vietnam veteran yourself, you can volunteer to offer encouragement and consolation to visitors. Morris said that several restaurants in and around the mall will be providing food for volunteers and workers during the event.
There will also be an opportunity for local students to get involved. To help them understand the Vietnam War as an important part of our nations history, the Friendly Valley Veterans Club is sponsoring an essay contest for fourth, fifth and sixth graders between Aug. 1 and 31.
“They don’t teach anything about Vietnam in schools,” Morris said. “I think it’s an important event in history.”
Students must answer the question “Why was the Vietnam War important to America?” in 500-700 words.
“They need to understand the sacrifices that were made,” Morris said, “so that they can have the advantages that they have today.”
Students can submit their entries to any one of the local Santa Clarita Valley libraries, including the Valencia Library, Old Town Newhall Library, Jo Anne Darcy Library, Castaic Library, Stevenson Ranch Library and Acton/Agua Dulce Library.
Winners will be notified in mid-September. Prizes will be awarded in the form of scholarship money: $1,000 for first place, $750 for second place and $500 for third place.
The winners will be announced at the opening ceremonies on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m., and the winning essays will be read aloud to visitors at the wall. For more information about the essay contest, the memorial wall and volunteer opportunities, click here.
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Source: Santa Clarita News