Wednesday, November 30, 2011

CCSO To Escort Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall To Marco

Collier County Sheriff’s Office deputies, along with deputies, troopers and police officers from other Southwest Florida law enforcement agencies, will lead a motorcade to escort the traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall as it makes its way to Marco Island on Dec. 6.

The Wall, a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be traveling by truck along a 50-mile stretch through Collier County from around 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The mile-long motorcade will be led by CCSO, Marco Island Police Department, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Highway Patrol, and hundreds of motorcycle riders, mostly veterans, creating a series of intersection and road closures along the way.

The motorcade will depart from the rest area at mile marker 131 at Daniels Parkway and Interstate 75 around 10:30 am. It will proceed south along I-75 to the exit ramp at mile marker 101 at the intersection of Collier and Davis boulevards. The motorcade will then proceed south along Collier Boulevard, arriving at Veterans’ Community Park on Marco Island, where the Wall will be on display for five days, around 11:30 a.m.

In some cases intersections, roads as well as on/off ramps along southbound I-75 from mile marker 131 to mile marker 101 may be closed for 10 to 15 minutes while the procession passes.

All three southbound lanes of Collier Boulevard will be closed and reopened sequentially as the motorcade approaches intersections. Motorists should expect delays of no more than 10 minutes.

Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said the Sheriff’s Office is honored to lead the Collier leg in escorting the Wall to its destination on Marco.

“The Wall represents a very important part of history,” Sheriff Rambosk said. "Our community is very service oriented and includes many veterans who served their county with honor. They deserve to see this and other people need to know about it."

Officially known as “The Wall That Heals,” the replica displays the names of 58,272 men and women killed or missing in action from the Vietnam conflict, including 1,954 Floridians.

The national touring exhibit will be open to the public 24 hours a day from Wednesday, Dec. 7 through Saturday, Dec. 10. It will be accompanied by a mobile museum that tells the story of the Vietnam War, the Wall and the era.

The exhibit will open to the public at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7, the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. There will be an opening ceremony that day at 3 p.m.

The replica was created by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the same nonprofit created by Congress to build the national Vietnam Veterans Memorial, to help bring healing to Vietnam veterans and families in communities across the country, according to the nonprofit group’s website.

Since 1996, “The Wall That Heals” has visited more than 300 communities, according to the nonprofit’s website.

Marco Island is the last stop for this year. Prior to coming to Marco it was on display in Lafayette, La.