The Moving Wall – a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C – will receive a hero’s welcome of sorts when it arrives in Urbana on Thursday. A parade, scheduled to start at 10 a.m., will escort the mobile exhibit from the Champaign County Community Center, 1512 S. U.S. Route 68, to its brief home at the former armory just south of Grimes Field at 1412 N. Main St.
Grimes Field Manager Lou Driever, who helped organize the welcoming parade, said The Moving Wall and its long list of escorts will leave the county building on the south side of Urbana and head due north 2.7 miles to the airport at 15 miles per hour.
“The goal is the parade will not take more than 10 minutes to pass by any given spot because we don’t want to tie up traffic,” he said.
Champaign County Veterans Service Officer Buzzy L. Moore, a Desert Storm Army veteran, will serve as grand marshal and will be riding in the lead vehicle – the Grimes Flying Lab Jeep.
The semitrailer carrying The Moving Wall will follow approximately 200 motorcyclists from the following motorcycle clubs: Patriot Guard, Rolling Thunder, Leathernecks, U.S. Marine Riders Association, Resurrection Riders, In-Country, U.S. Military Veterans, Combat Veterans, Sons of Mosby and Scroll Syndicate.
Following The Moving Wall exhibit in the procession down Main Street will be military vehicles/recruiters, public safety vehicles, and the local TrueChat mobile podcast studio.
Upon arrival at Grimes Field, a short ceremony is scheduled for 10:45 a.m. The Rev. Jeff Krieg will give the invocation, and Moore will be the guest speaker.
Following the ceremony, assembly will begin on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial replica.
The Moving Wall exhibit will open to the public for viewing beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday and will remain open 24/7 until 5 p.m. Monday, June 13.
To kick off the opening festivities, the U.S. Air Force Band of Flight from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton will perform at the former armory from 4:30 to 5 p.m.
Following the patriotic music, Urbana City Council President Marty Hess is scheduled to speak, while Urbana Fire Division Chaplain Tim West will deliver the benediction.
Following the reading of a declaration officially opening The Moving Wall exhibit by Matthew Keyes, regional representative for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Hess and Keyes will place a wreath at the exhibit.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.