Bergenfield will welcome the Vietnam War memorial called The Moving Wall when it makes a stop at the high school from Friday through Sunday.
The wall, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., has the names of over 58,000 service members killed during the war engraved on its panels.
The Bergenfield Board of Education and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6467 are hosting the visit, which will include opening and closing ceremonies. On Saturday at 10 a.m., the borough will dedicate a field at Roy Brown Middle School to Col. Floyd J. Thompson, a Bergenfield native captured in 1964 who became one of America's longest-held prisoners of war.
Warren Williams, commander of Post 6467 and a multiple-war veteran, said the borough has a strong veterans community and support system. Plans for this event have been in the works for about a year, and Williams said he is looking forward to the educational opportunities it will bring.
"It's a teaching event, because our younger generation today hardly know anything about what happened in Vietnam, what it meant. So it's good for younger students today to know what our veterans do for our country," Williams said.
Williams said the ceremonies will have speeches from borough officials and will be accompanied by a 21-gun salute in honor of those on the wall. VFW posts from nearby municipalities are expected to come out in support of their fellow soldiers.
Story continues below gallery
The visit is occurring in the year that marked the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Peace Accords, which ended the U.S. war, and the last American troops leaving Vietnam.
The Moving Wall was first displayed in Tyler, Texas, in 1984. Two versions of it now travel the country.
The wall will arrive at Bergenfield High School on Thursday morning and will be assembled by volunteers. The opening ceremony is Friday at 9 a.m. Attendees can park on West Clinton Avenue beside the football stadium or on nearby streets.
Williams said memorials like this one have been a long time coming. Most Vietnam veterans were not given the same receptions as other soldiers because of the controversial political and social nature of the war, he said.
"It took us 50 years to get the glory, the satisfaction and the honor, the way that they should be honored since day one," Williams said.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Bergenfield NJ hosts Moving Wall, Vietnam War memorial