2010-10-06 / Front Page

Vietnam Memorial Wall replica comes to Long Island

On display in West Islip throught Sunday; watch video

Posted Fri., Oct. 8-There was a unexpected silence as students walked through the Dignity Memorial on the grounds near the West Islip Library. The only sounds that could be heard were the chirping of birds, the shuffle of hundreds of sneakers on the wooden platform, the flapping of flags, and the hushed tones of the Vietnam veterans who talked about the Memorial to the students and told them some of the stories behind the thousands of names listed there.

Beneath the wooden platform of the replica, for example, is the Purple Heart of a young man who died for his country. It was donated by his family to help make the Wall an even more meaningful living memorial. It replicates the sentiment of a veteran who placed his Purple Heart in the concrete on the Wall as it was being constructed in Washington D.C.

Carved on the wall are names of fathers and sons, men and women of all creeds and color and from all walks of life and each corner of the country. They share one thing in common. At some point in their lives they decided to serve their country and in doing so gave up their lives for the cause of freedom.

“The veterans who are giving these tours are a wealth of information and can bring these thousands of names to life,” said Charles Spencer of Boyd-Spencer Funeral Homes who was instrumental in bringing the Dignity Memorial to Long Island for the second time. In 1995, the Wall was displayed in Babylon.

Honoring Veterans of the Vietnam War and All U.S. Servicemen and Women, the Dignity Memorial® Vietnam Wall is a traveling, three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The faux-granite replica stands 240 feet long and eight feet high and is inscribed with the names of more than 58,000 Americans who died or are missing in Vietnam.
The traveling monument has been displayed in more than 200 cities across the country, allowing millions of visitors to experience the healing power of the memorial.

You can visit this stunning memorial on the grounds near the West Islip Library, Higbie Lane and Montauk Highway, West Islip, through Sunday, 4 p.m. Oct. 10. Ceremonies are planned throughout the weekend and Vietnam War Veterans will be on hand to guide visitors through the memorial. They provide moving stories about the men and women whose names are listed there and the history of the Wall. There is no charge.
The Dignity Memorial network of funeral service providers created the replica. For more info., go to www.dignitymemorial.com

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