It came in pieces, accompanied by the rolling thunder of a motorcycle escort made up of fathers and loved ones, of brothers-in-arms.
A replica of the Vietnam Memorial wall arrived in Fairlawn Tuesday (Aug. 16). A group of about 50 volunteers gathered at the before lunch time to construct the miniature version of the monument, which will be displayed in the clearing between the funeral home and Rose Hill Cemetery from Friday (Aug. 19) through Sunday (Aug. 22).
"We had about 45 people committed from the Marine guard," Catavolos said, "They are veterans from the Vietnam era, who will work along with some young Marines and active duty recruits."
The Dignity Memorial Wall is a 3/4 scale model of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. inscribed with the 58,000-plus Americans who died or are missing in Vietnam.
The traveling monument is owned by the Dignity Memorial Network, of which the funeral home and the cemetery are members.
Like the original wall, the Fairlawn display will have a purple heart buried at its foundation. The medal is the purple heart awarded to Marine Gunnery Sgt. Robert L Gilbert II, of Richfield, who died March 16, 2010 on his 28th birthday of wounds suffered in Afghanistan.
A 2000 graduate, Sgt. Gilbert was on his fifth tour of duty. His medal was placed in the foundation at Fairlawn Tuesday by his father, Richfield Police officer Robert Gilbert Sr.
Admission to the wall is free. The display is open 24 hours a day.