We actually took this field trip yesterday, Thursday. But with me, you get what you get.
The Moving Wall is a half-sized replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. It has been traveling the US for about 30 years. There are actually two walls now. I took Dave when he was a young punk. We went with my dad, who is a Vietnam veteran, and my stepmom.
This time, we headed to Arkport, NY and to the field near Arkport Cycles. I took Mal, Xav, and Merrick, and we brought my mom along. It rained early afternoon and I regretted not going in the morning, but I had something else I needed to do in the afternoon not far from there, so I wasn't about to make two trips. Anyway, when we got there, the rain was long over and the sun was out. The field was mown so the grass was fairly dry.
I always thought the Moving Wall was huge, actually. I still think it is. Xav's first comment was, "It's not that big." Whatever kid. First thing most people do is stare at it and take it all in. Then you just start looking at individual names. I know from last time that no one in my family or with my family name are on the wall. I also know The Bigger's family name *is* on the wall, though they doesn't seem to be closely related.
When you're ready to look for names, there are awesome people there to help you look up names in a giant book. The information includes their names and hometowns, as well as a block number and a row number to help you find them. Each piece of the Moving Wall is given a number. One is at the center with an E or W after it. The numbers climb higher as you move away from that center point. Each segment has a different number of rows on it. Some only have a few rows of names and some have over 100 rows on them.
We checked Daddy's family name and were not surprised to find none. I wanted the boys to do a rubbing though, so we grabbed an octagon crayon and a couple sheets of their papers. We just chose random names to rub. If you can find a name you know, it's much more personal.
Some girls were wandering around with a Wall app on their phones, interrupting the docents who were leading people to the books and explaining the wall. I was actually very irritated by that. Those volunteers, many of whom were former military, were so deeply involved in getting the Wall there. The radiated such a deep respect for it. I was just flabbergasted that people were so oblivious to the where and the who of the location.
Volunteers arrange the whole thing locally, usually schools, veterans, or other groups. There were such a nice group of people in Arkport. They hosted a hospitality tent, manned the books, watched over the wall, and answered lots of questions.
It was really interesting and probably a once in a lifetime visit for most. Considering we've never been to DC and don't have plans to go, the Moving Wall is a really inspiring substitute. Check the schedule, and if it's going to be near you, I highly recommend a field trip to see it.