[KHTS] – Many veterans returning from Vietnam did not receive a hero’s welcome. But when the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall comes into Santa Clarita, the American Legion and Patriot Guard Riders of Post 507 in Newhall will make sure the men and women remembered on the wall receive the same honor and escort as the remains of any other hero returning from war.
Between 12 and 15 riders on motorcycles will meet the truck carrying the wall in Acton at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
They will then escort the truck down Interstate 5, exiting at Magic Mountain Parkway around 3:45 p.m.
Those who would like to welcome the wall to Santa Clarita can line up along Magic Mountain Pkwy or in the Westfield Valencia Town Center by 3:30 p.m.
Duane Harte, veteran and president of the local American Legion Riders, said that the escort is a fitting way to welcome the wall into Santa Clarita.
“I am proud to be part of this,” Harte said. “I’m a Vietnam era veteran as well. There are names on that wall that I went to school with.”
Harte served in the Navy from 1967 to 1990, and though he never went to Vietnam, he was not immune from losing friends in the war.
And Harte said that he understands how important the traveling wall is for veterans who will never be able to see the one in Washington, D.C. He expects it to be an emotional experience for himself and many others.
“Bringing the wall to Santa Clarita will be a huge emotional event for so many people,” Harte said. “We have thousands of Vietnam veterans here in Santa Clarita and families of Vietnam veterans.”
The Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall will be open to the public 24 hours a day, Thursday through Sunday in the Westfield Valencia Town Center parking lot near Citrus Street.
Opening ceremonies begin on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Volunteers are still needed to read the more than 58,000 names on the wall. Those who are interested can sign up for 30 minute shifts here.
To learn more about other volunteer opportunities or for a schedule of events while the wall is in Santa Clarita, click here.