By Drew Esnard
Several Santa Ynez Valley residents who fought and died in service to our country during the Vietnam War are among 98 Santa Barbara County veterans to be honored in a beachside memorial at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 15 at the Official Dedication Ceremony. The Moving Wall, a traveling half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will make its only stop in Southern California for a six-day installation from Wednesday, October 12 to Monday, October 17 at Chase Palm Park in Santa Barbara.
The names of Army Corporal David R. Tibbetts and Army Corporal Richard D. Henrey, both from Solvang, and Marine Corps PFC Robert L. Pacheco of Los Olivos are etched into the panels that make up The Moving Wall. Their names sit alongside those of 58,000 other men and women who also made the ultimate sacrifice in service during the Vietnam War. All three fallen local men are buried at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Ballard.
Peter Bie, President of the local Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 218 (VVA#218) which is hosting the event, considers the moving memorial to be a “somber reminder”.
“For the generations of Americans born after 1975 the Vietnam War is now relegated to a few chapters in a history book,” Bie stated, adding “Veterans of the war, however, still have sharp memories of where they were and what happened during their time of service whether they served in-country or not.”
Visitors to The Moving Wall are invited to meet veterans of the war and hear their stories. The wall will be open and staffed by Vietnam Veterans and volunteers 24 hours a day with staff available to answer questions and assist visitors in locating names of relatives and loved ones. The wall will be illuminated at night.
At the dedication ceremony the names of each fallen Santa Barbara County veteran will be read and a bell rung. The event will be highlighted by a fly-over at the conclusion of the ceremony when four Vietnam era planes (T-34 trainers) will do two passes including The Missing Man. On Sunday, a Candlelight Ceremony at 6:30pm has an inter-denominational ceremony to remember all those whose names are all on the Wall.
In addition to this healing art installation, VVA# 218 is hosting a series of educational events, both for the public and for students from grade school through college level. For more information visit www.vvachapter218.org
Chumash Elder, Adelina, will come to bless the wall on Wednesday, October 12 around 11:30 a.m. (Photo by Rick Carter Photography)