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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Memorial replica escorted through county

  • Inside a decorated trailer were of thousands of names etched in stone.
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  • Inside a decorated trailer were of thousands of names etched in stone.
    With each name was a life cut short by the Vietnam War.
    Using motorcycles and classic cars, hundreds of area veterans and other residents escorted a replica of the Vietnam War Memorial Wall from Inman to Hutchinson Wednesday evening. The replica - which is about 85 percent of the size of the original in Washington, D.C., - is traveling through the area on a tour throughout the U.S. It is part of the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, whose mission is to honor to all veterans, law enforcement officers and firefighters for their service and sacrifices.
    Once in Hutchinson, the wall was erected at the VFW Bob Campbell Post 1361 at the corner of Fourth Street and Van Buren. It will be on display through Sunday.
    In addition to honoring Vietnam War soldiers, the exhibit will also recognize other groups who serve the country, such as law enforcement.
    Loren Dreiling of Hutchinson rode for his father and brothers who served the country in the military.
    When one of his brothers heard he was participating in the event, Dreiling said his brother had tears in his eyes.
    “It's a really great honor,” he said. “It's about all our loved ones that lost their lives and fought for our freedom.”
    Ray Snow, also of Hutchinson, said he rode for his father who served in World War II and his brother who served in Vietnam.
    “When they said they were coming through, we said 'We'll do it,'” he said. “It's just an honor to be an escort. It just means a lot, it really does.”
    Steve Buller, president of the Inman Area Veterans Association and combat Navy veteran from the Vietnam War, helped organize the escort.
    “A lot of us took part in (the Vietnam War), and I would say the entire country was touched by the loss of veterans,” he said. “There was a lot of turmoil in America during Vietnam. Just like the Civil War, families were torn apart by the death of a son or daughter.”
    But Buller said he still believes in what he did and was proud to be part of the event Wednesday.
    “We all have names we know on that wall,” he said. “And I'm sure there are a lot of people that will never make it to Washington, D.C., who will go there and will see their son, daughter, cousin, or uncle that they never knew.”
    Contact Jenae Pauls at jpauls@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow her on Twitter @PaulsSentinel

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