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Maintenance issue puts Traveling Wall on hold until September

"The Wall" is still coming to New York Mills, just a few months later than originally scheduled.

The Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall, scheduled to be at the V.F.W. Post 3289 in New York Mills this week (June 4-7) has been postponed to Sept. 10-13.

All programs and activities scheduled during the original dates have been postponed as well, including the special daily programs at 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and the concert by the Wadena Area Community Band on Thursday, June 4 at 7 p.m.

"The Wall committee was so stunned on Wednesday, May 27 when we received a call stating that 'The Wall' was not coming because of some damage that had happened to it," said Rhonda Schornack of the V.F.W. Post 3289 Ladies Auxiliary,

According to Colonel Don Allen, representative from the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, "It would be a disgrace to our fellow comrades and heroes to display it."

The 80 percent size replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall was damaged recently and will have to be replaced. AVTT has already begun work on the replacement, which will be available by the end of the summer, this according to Colonel Allen.

Schornack said there have been many comments regarding The Wall as to, "Oh that is too bad."

Although the news, which came just one week before the exhibit was set to arrive, shocked committee members, Schornack reminds the community the postponement was out of their hands.

"The Wall is still coming on September 10-13, 2009 - this year," she said.

Since early this year, members of area V.F.W. and Auxiliaries, in conjunction with the ITOW Veterans Museum, the Military Order of Purple Heart, Patriot Guard and many others, have been working to bring this important tribute to the area.

"Needless to say, Thursday was a whirlwind trying to contact as many people as possible to postpone what was already set up for speakers, presenters, nursing and assisted living centers, radio stations, papers, music talent, food vendors, and the list goes on," Schornack said. "If we have missed contacting you, or if you do happen to show up, we are truly sorry, and please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused."

Money for the exhibit was raised from area individuals and businesses and the fee for "The Wall" had already been paid. The balance of the amount will be kept in a reserve account by V.F.W. Post 3289.

"As we are not able to acknowledge and pay our respects as we had hoped on June 6, please keep our military in our thoughts and prayers for Veterans Appreciation Day, which is Saturday, June 6," Schornack added.

AVTT has agreed to re-imburse the group for already incurred advertising expenses. While everyone is greatly disappointed, they are still looking forward to hosting the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall on Sept. 10-13.

"We are keeping the same schedule of events; all we are doing is changing the dates." Schornack continued. "Keep 9-11 in your thoughts and prayers also, and we will see you on Sept. 10-13 at the V.F.W. in New York Mills!"