Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall makes stop in Englewood

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ENGLEWOOD, Fla. - A replica Vietnam Memorial Wall has traveled the country multiple times.  For the next few days it will call Englewood home.

The wall arrived in pieces Wednesday morning on Dearborn Street, where local veterans from the community united to put it together and remember those who gave all.

The panels bear the names of 58,227 U.S. military personnel who lost their life in the war from 1959 to 1975.

"I got a few friends on the wall."  It's an emotional site for North Port resident Pete Purcell.  "On the way over here I was crying thinking about it. I get emotional. I think a lot of other people do too."

Cher Macey lost her first husband Kenneth Parker in the war. She's worked for two years to help bring the wall. "It's amazing. I get choked up a little bit."

Local volunteers, mostly Vietnam-era vets, worked side by side to get everything in place. "It's the camaraderie of the servicemen. We have always hung together and have always stuck together," says Purcell.

Some like Ray Simpson are able to carry a special piece.  In his case the one belonging to a friend Joseph Melnyk, who died all those years ago. "Remembering a good friend of mine who was killed and I am going to carry his panel."

In the next few days 10,000 visitors are expected. Hundreds of volunteers giving up their time. $20,000 was raised locally to make it all happen, says Macey. "This community has been absolutely amazing. They have stepped forward. Stepped up to the plate."

All to pay tribute to those who paid dearly for their service. "You get a great respect for the people that gave all," says Simpson.

The wall will be open 24 hours a day for anyone who wants to come view it. It will be in place until Monday morning.

There will be a service at the memorial wall Saturday morning beginning at 10.  The wall is located in Pioneer Park, 300 W. Dearborn Street in Englewood.

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