- Fireworks, sparklers, Star Spangled Banners, and barbeques, the 4th of July brings with it many types of celebrations.
But as we head into the holiday, a group in Eagle River is reminding us to honor the men and woman who risked their lives for their country so we could enjoy the privilege of freedom.
Robert Bartmann, a Vietnam Veteran, said of the wall, “I think it puts it in perspective what freedom and liberty costs.”
This weekend the Derby track in Eagle River was transformed into a memorial for our fallen soldiers who served in the Vietnam War.
There are a total of 58,479 names on the wall.
Co-Founder of Ultimate Sacrifice, Bob Canker said, “I don’t think a person realizes what it means to them to walk in front of this wall and see all these names on here.”
Since being completed in 2006, the wall has traveled to 76 different sites.
A few hundred visitors came to see the wall Saturday, some veterans and some who came to honor loved ones.
Bartmann came to sketch the name of a friend who died in his platoon.
“Jeffrey Claves. He was in a platoon that I was in where we were mine sweeping. A mine went off in the road and he was behind the mine sweepers. I give thanks to the lord I made it back home," he said.
It took about a year of fundraising and planning to bring the Vietnam Traveling Wall to Eagle River.
And having it for the 4th of July makes it even more special for the vets.
Joe Eisele, a volunteer and Vietnam Vet said, “Those 58,000 names up there are part of the reason we can enjoy the freedom and the life we do. And we need to appreciate that more and more.”
The wall is open through the 4th of July between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. before it heads to Texas.
There will be a special closing ceremony on Wednesday.