Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress
A four-fifths replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, escorted through northern Cherokee County Thursday by motorcycle enthusiasists, is on display through Sunday at a veterans' event at the KE Bushman Winery and Celebration Center at U.S. Highway 69 in Bullard.
The “Cost of Freedom Tribute” is sponsored by the American Veterans Traveling Tribute Texas Freedom Tribute, based in Flint. The tribute represents all conflicts in which the United States has been involved, “depicting honor, respect and remembrance of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country, according to www.avtt.org, the group website.
It also “pays respect to veterans, active duty military, police officers and firefighters – anyone whose daily job is to put themselves in harm’s way, to protect and defend our way of life, in locations around the world or here on the home front” while raising local awareness of these individuals' efforts, the site said.
The outdoor replica stands eight feet high and is 360 feet in length.
Among the information featured are timelines and statistics of the different wars the country has been involved in, spanning from World II to Afghanistan, as well as conflicts and casualties from the period between 1980 and 2000. Tribute is also given to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the global war on terror and victims of the Nov. 5, 2009 Fort Hood shootings.
Two books and two laptop computers with a database for locating names on the wall, as well as to the names on a Gold Dog Tag display, will be available as well.
An inaugural Lone Star Military and First Responders Appreciation Event will be held through Sunday, at the Bushman center and will “celebrate and honor our military, and bridge the gap between military and civilian populations,” said Julianne Sanford, a local veterans advocate who is helping coordinate the event.
“What we're trying to do is provide ways for civilians to reach out to the military population and for the military population to successfully reintegrate (into civilian life).”