Vietnam Memorial Wall replica to arrive in Siskiyou today

Skye Kinkade

If you can’t make it to Washington DC to visit the Memorial Wall for Saturday’s Vietnam Veterans Day, being in Siskiyou County may be the next best thing.

The American Veterans Traveling Tribute, an 80 percent scaled replica of the wall, will be on display at the Siskiyou Golden Fairgrounds this Wednesday through Sunday, March 26 to 30.

While it’s here, the wall will be open for visitation 24 hours a day, said Veterans Services Officer Tim Grenvik.

“This is our way of saying thank you and welcome home, we haven’t forgotten about you,” Grenvik said. Of the more than 58,000 names engraved on the wall, 16 are officially recognized Siskiyou County natives.

The largest traveling wall replica will arrive in Siskiyou County today, March 26. It will stop at the Weed Rest Area, where a convoy will meet at 3 p.m. to transport it to Yreka. All are invited to join in or watch.

Grenvik recommends the overpass at Grenada, Walters Lane in south Yreka, or the fairgrounds entrance as the best vantage points for seeing the procession.

He said the wall will stretch across the fairgrounds where the carnival rides are usually set up.

An opening ceremony will be held Thursday. The main event to celebrate Vietnam Veterans Day is scheduled for Saturday, beginning at 2 p.m.

The event will include vendors with merchandise and free lunch and dinner on both Friday and Saturday. Lunch will be served 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. both days.

A fully-functional flying infantry Huey helicopter will be on display.

Guest speakers include Vietnam Army nurse Marge Wheeler and Ernie Brace, the longest held civilian Prisoner of War in Vietnam.

All the names of the Siskiyou County residents who were killed in action will be read aloud, Grenvik said.

Though there are only 16 Siskiyou County natives on the wall that are officially recognized, there are three others who are connected to Siskiyou in some way, Grenvik said. The military uses a soldier’s “home of record,” but sometimes a Siskiyou County native may have moved just before enlisting.

Grenvik plans to honor them all during the ceremony.

A closing ceremony is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m.

For more information or to learn how to donate to the wall’s visit, call the Veterans Services Office at (530) 842-8010.