Military veterans and law enforcement officials braved heavy rains on Tuesday to escort a traveling Vietnam War memorial to San Luis Obispo — the next stop on its tour across the United States.
Around 30 to 40 vehicles participated in a motorcade that began at Mission San Miguel, traveling down Highway 101 to the Madonna Inn, where the memorial will be displayed.
The Wall That Heals is a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., that tours the country with a mobile education center. Like the original memorial, it features the names of 58,281 people who died in the Vietnam War.
Tuesday’s motorcade featured motorcycles, patrol cars from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office and San Luis Obispo Police Department and the large truck transporting The Wall that Heals display.
The memorial, which is 375 feet long and 7.5 feet tall, travels in a 53-foot trailer that transforms into a mobile education center once the memorial is assembled.
The wet weather didn’t stop San Luis Obispo County resident Robert Tolan from coming out to support the veterans on Tuesday.
He said he always comes to these things, and didn’t mind the rain.
“We need it,” Tolan said.
Vietnam War memorial goes on display in SLO
Volunteers are scheduled to assemble The Wall That Heals on Wednesday and open the memorial Thursday.
Hosted by the County of San Luis Obispo Veterans Services Office and the Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum, will be open to the public at the Madonna Meadows outside of the Madonna Inn from March 16 to March 19.
The memorial will be open 24 hours a day without an entrance fee, organizers said in a December news release.
Visitors will have the opportunity “to do name rubbings of individual service member’s names on The Wall,” according to the release.
The education center will include a photo display of San Luis Obispo veterans who fought in Vietnam, along with videos detailing the history of the Vietnam War, the impact of the memorial and “educational exhibits told through items representative of those left at the Wall in D.C.,” the release said.
According to the museum, about 41% of veterans in San Luis Obispo County served in the Vietnam War.
“The exhibits tell the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the area surrounding the conflict, and are designed to put American experiences in Vietnam in a historical and cultural context,” the news release said.
“I truly hope that those who served take the time to visit, reflect, and pay respects,” county Veterans Services officer Morgan Boyd said in the release.