Updated: Honoring sacrifices to heal
Clarification: A story in Friday’s Telegram used a database of names appearing on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and their location on the Wall. Several Superior natives killed in Vietnam who no longer resided in Superior did not come up in the database search for the city of Superior. According to Telegram archives, the first Superior native killed in Vietnam was Air Force Lt. John L. Banks III, 24, who died March 29, 1966. Others omitted included Army Capt. Monte Sloan, 29, Dec. 10, 1966; Army Cpt. James Jensen, 24, March 15, 1968; Marine Pfc. Ronald Grenier, 19, Aug. 2, 1968; Army Sgt. Victor B. Meyers, 19, Aug. 9, 1968; Army Sgt. Thomas Becker, 25, Nov. 6, 1968; Army WO1 Michael Lamusga, 21, June 2, 1971, according to Telegram archives. The archives also revealed Army Pfc. Dennis Gustafson, 21, of Wentworth also was killed in action May 4, 1969. The Telegram apologizes for the omissions.
Marine Master Sgt. Howard Dale Strouse was 41 when he was killed Oct. 6, 1966, in Vietnam, one of many service members from Superior who would lose their lives during the war.
His death was followed by Army Spc. Robert Dale Erickson, 22, Jan. 13, 1967; Army Pfc. William Joseph Anderson, 23, Feb. 5, 1968; Marine Pfc. William Anthony Patterson, 18, June 9, 1968; Army Sgt. Victor Bert Meyers, 20, Aug. 9, 1968; Army Pfc. Roy L. Edelstein, 21, Aug. 14, 1968; Army Spc. Ronald Duane Golden, 24, Aug. 20, 1968; Army Spc. John Charles Shellum, 20, April 18, 1969; Marine Pfc. David Lenox Banks, 20, April 21, 1969; Army WO1 John Michael Bozinski, 22, Aug. 15, 1969; Army Sgt. James John Gunderson, 19, Nov. 15, 1969; and Army Spc. Donald Jon Severson, 21, July 22, 1970. Army CWO2 Franklin D. Defenbaugh, 37, was the last Superior native to die in the Vietnam War on Nov. 29, 1970.
Theirs are among the more than 58,000 names of Americans listed chronologically on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
And next week, the half-size replica of the memorial will be in Superior.
The Wall that Heals, a 250-foot replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, along with a mobile education center, is coming to Barker's Island Festival Park in Superior, hosted by Halvor Lines.
"Being chosen to host is such an honor," said Jon Vinje, CEO of Halvor Lines. "Not only does it give our own region a chance to heal and honor the fallen, it also shows our veterans that Halvor is thankful for their sacrifice."
The Superior-based trucking and logistics firm makes the memorial available July 20 to July 23, open 24 hours a day and free to the public. The wall bears the names of those Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Vietnam War.
When the replica wall arrives in Superior on Wednesday, Charmaine Holtz of Halvor Lines said they are hoping the community turns out to cheer on the Minnesota Patriot Guard and Halvor Lines as they travel with a Superior Police Department escort. The route starts at Fabco on Moccasin Mike Road before heading north on U.S. Highway 2 and 53 to North Third Street and Tower Avenue, then taking North 28th Street to head back to the Barker's Island Pavilion. Holtz said the plan is to line up starting at 9 a.m. and starting the run about 10 a.m.
The first day of the event, July 20, features speakers. Superior mayor and Marine veteran, Jim Paine; Wisconsin Secretary of the Department of Veteran Affairs Dan Zimmerman; Douglas County Board Chairman Mark Liebaert and Vinje, will all talk about the meaningfulness of the memorial. Speakers start at 9 a.m. with Carl Svendsen, chief strategy officer with Halvor Lines, is serving as emcee.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is one of the most visited memorials in the nation's capital, with more than 5.6 million visitors each year. However, many Americans have not been able to visit what has become known to many as "The Wall."
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the organization that built The Wall in 1982, wants to give all veterans and their family members all across America an opportunity to see the memorial.
Like the original memorial wall, it is erected in a chevron-shape. The replica is constructed of powder-coated aluminum, supported by an aluminum frame, and is made up of 24 individual panels, each containing six columns of names.
Holtz said while the Twin Ports division of Naval Cadets will set up the Wall that Heals, volunteers are still needed. To sign up, go to www.SignUpGenius.com/go/5080E4EAAA822ABF94-thewall. A few slots remain open for the overnight watch and greeters during the day.
"Taking the Wall That Heals on the road gives thousands more veterans and their family members an opportunity to see 'The Wall' and honor those who have served and sacrificed so much," said Jim Knotts, president and CEO of the memorial fund. "It helps veterans from all of America's conflicts to find healing and a powerful connection through their common military experiences."
In honor of "The Wall that Heals" the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center in partnership with WDSE-WRPT public television is working to honor and remember the service of our Vietnam veterans, according to Bong Center director, Hayes Scriven. He said Vietnam veterans are invited to come share your memories from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 22 at the Bong Center, 305 Harbor View Parkway. WDSE-WRPT crews will be available to record their memories for a local documentary project. Please bring photos and mementos.
In addition, the oral histories will be cataloged at the center and a copy given to the family. At 3 p.m., WDSE previews the upcoming PBS Ken Burns Documentary "The Vietnam War" and two Vietnam veterans tell stories from their time in the service.
In partnership with the Douglas County Veterans Service Office, the Bong Center also hosts a free cookout from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day.
"We wanted a way to give back" said Brian Erickson, Douglas County veterans service officer.
"With the Wall that Heals coming in, we wanted to give people an opportunity to gather and relax after taking in the Wall," Scriven said. The lunch is free but donations are welcome and will go to support the center and the service office.
The Bong Center is also offering free admission to all veterans July 20-July 23.