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FLORENCE — The Umpqua Valley Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America will exhibit its Oregon Memorial Traveling Wall inside Florence’s Oregon Coast Military Heritage Museum in conjunction with Pearl Harbor Day observances.

The Wall will be available for viewing during the museum’s regular hours, noon to 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Dec. 7-9. The Oregon Coast Military Museum is located at 2145 Kingwood St. in Florence. Admission is free on all three days. 

The event, sponsored by Three Rivers Casino Resort, features a 24-by-eight-foot wall of six panels engraved with the names of Oregon’s fallen service men and women.

The traveling exhibit is shaped in the likeness of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., the center panels in black contain the names of those lost in Vietnam and on the USS Pueblo. There are panels off both sides in sandstone color with the names of those lost in Panama, the bombing of Beirut, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom. The memorial will be updated annually with the names of those fallen in any current or future conflict.

The museum’s executive director, Cal Applebee, reports that Siuslaw Valley Fire is working to coordinate with the exhibitors, Florence police, and US Coast Guard Station Siuslaw River, for an escort into town at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 7.

“We’re very excited to combine a display representing the Vietnam War with a holiday commemorating our nation’s launch into WWII. It emphasizes our goal to represent all eras of military heritage and all disciplines of military service,” said the museum’s chief of staff Geoff Cannon.

"Why is it important to share the Wall with others who may not be aware of the impact of the Vietnam War on earlier generations?” asks Applebee. “That answer is simple. If someone has ever heard, or recalls, how our nation's Vietnam vets were treated when they returned home, it is long overdue to honor them with more respect.”

The Oregon Coast Military Museum is a volunteer-run 501(c)3 non-profit that operates by contributed funds. Regular hours are Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 4:00 p.m. Learn more at oregoncoastmilitarymuseum.com or by contacting the museum’s executive director Cal Applebee at 541-999-4175 or cal97439@gmail.com.

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