April 10, 2018
THE WALL’S ARRIVAL DRAWS NEAR
Cookeville-Putnam County Prepares to Welcome Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The anticipation builds in Putnam County and throughout the Upper Cumberland as the arrival of The Wall That Heals draws near. The traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, along with a mobile education center, will arrive by police escort Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 4 p.m. CT. Businesses and local residents are encouraged to line the route, waving flags and welcoming The Wall.
Semi-trailer trucks housing the contents of The Wall will route down Cookeville’s Jefferson Avenue, past the Putnam County Veterans’ Memorial at the historic courthouse square, then along North Washington Avenue to the Putnam County Sports Complex.
After a day of building, The Wall will be erected and officially unveiled Thursday morning, April 19, 10 a.m. CT and will then offer free, public viewing, 24-hours-a-day until Sunday, April 22.
The Wall holds the names of the more than 58,000 Americans who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. The opening ceremonies will provide a special tribute to the those listed on The Wall from the Upper Cumberland with a spotlight on the nine names of those from Putnam County.
The special guest speaker for the opening ceremony will be Tennessee Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder. Country music star Aaron Tippin, along with his wife Thea and son Tom, will be on-hand to provide a patriotic soundtrack to accompany the affair. Tippin, an Upper Cumberland resident, is proud to be a part of the event.
“We are grateful to be included in the opening ceremonies and are proud to perform in honor of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” said Tippin.
Tippin’s hit song, “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly,” could not be more fitting for the event. The ceremony will also offer another special guest, Challenger, a Bald Eagle cared for by the American Eagle Foundation, headquartered at Dollywood.
Putnam County Executive Randy Porter has established a team of local leadership to prepare in hosting The Wall and invites residents of the 14-county Upper Cumberland region to join in welcoming The Wall and in honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.
“We have this rare opportunity to honor the 65 area residents that are etched on The Wall,” said Porter. “This is a chance to pay respects, to educate our kids, and to show how patriotic and proud our entire region is.”
The Wall is expected to welcome visitors from across the state and region during its four days on display as the only stop in Tennessee, one of only 38 in the country.
“We invite guests to make a weekend of exploring our area’s heroic heritage by not only visiting The Wall but other veterans memorial points-of-interest as well,” added Porter.
The Upper Cumberland is home to patriotic destinations such as Alvin C. York State Historic Park, Jackson County Veterans' Hall, Putnam County Veteran’s Hall, White County Veterans' Memorial Park, and Crossville's Military Memorial Museum.
A highly notable mention of the region’s heroic history is the first Vietnam casualty is actually from the Upper Cumberland. Spec James Thomas “Tom” Davis is buried less than 20 miles from where The Wall will be on display.
Cookeville-Putnam County is among the first to host a new, larger exhibit which includes a three-quarter scale Wall replica that is 375-feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point. With the new replica at this size, visitors will be able to experience The Wall rising above them as they walk towards the apex, a key feature of the design of The Wall in D.C. For the first time in the history of The Wall That Heals, visitors will be able to do name rubbings of individual service member's names on The Wall.
This display is made possible with support from: Putnam County Government, Averitt Express, 106.9 Kicks Country, Rock 93.7 and the Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau.
Opportunities to volunteer are still available by contacting Mike Glass at Michael.Glass@putnamcountytn.gov
For more information regarding schedule of events, lodging discounts, and more, go to VisitCookevilleTN.com/TheWallThatHeals.
Countdown begins for arrival of traveling Vietnam veterans’ memorial to Cookeville-Putnam County. / Credit: Daily Gazette, Princetown