Vietnam Wall Visits Huntersville
According to The West Virginia State Council Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), 732 West Virginians died in Vietnam during the war. To honor the veterans and their families, friends, and communities, the VVA has constructed a mobile wall with the names of those fallen West Virginia soldiers.
The mobile wall will be in Pocahontas County during Huntersville Traditions Day on October 3rd and 4th. Harlan Whiting is the Senior Vice Commander of the Pocahontas County Veterans Honor Corps. “I felt that it was time the nine sons from Pocahontas County that were killed in Vietnam were honored with a rightful ceremony with their full military rights,” he said. “By this way, we have the wall that has their names on it. Their names are also on the national wall up in Washington DC, but this is a traveling wall for West Virginia veterans only.”
The wall will be on display from noon on Friday to noon on Sunday. “On Saturday, when all of the programs are at Huntersville, first we’ll have a flag retirement flag disposal ceremony at 10:15am,” Whiting said, “and then a program at 1:30pm about the wall and also to honor our deceased sons from Pocahontas County.”
Dave Simmons is the State President of the Vietnam Veterans of America, and he’s part of the crew that transports the mobile wall across the state. “This wall was built fourteen months ago so we could take it around the state of West Virginia for the veterans and family members that cannot make it to Washington DC to the big wall,” he said.
According to Simmons, the mobile wall has been to seventeen counties so far, and the goal is to visit all fifty-five counties in the state. “We are Vietnam Veterans and this wall is very special to a lot of us because a lot of us have family members on the wall, and then also have friends that were killed in Vietnam,” he said.
Huntersville Traditions Day will take place Friday October 3rd – Saturday October 4th. Along with the Vietnam War Memorial, the weekend will include tours of the Huntersville School, Presbyterian and Methodist Church, Jail, and Civil War Cemetery, as well as a number of demonstrations, including apple butter and soap making.
The festival has been described as a way to step back in time. According to Whiting, it’s a good place for a memorial like the Mobile Wall because the weekend focuses on history and traditions that date back to the Civil War.
“It divided the nation,” Whiting said. “It was almost totally divided during the Civil War, and there again in the 60s and 70s, the country was never more divided. And the Vietnam Veterans sacrificed quite a bit by not being accepted. That’s why we wanted to have it at Huntersville. They go back to the Civil War days, and so we want to do the same thing with the Vietnam Wall.”
The men listed on The Wall from Pocahontas County are:
Luster Clark Friel – Marlinton
Douglas Way McCarty – Frost
Jack Lee Rexrode – Bartow
Samuel Dewy Rider Jr – Marlinton
Lee Roy David Sprouse – Dunmore
Watson Underwood Jr – Huntersville
Jake Harold VanMeter Jr – Slatyfork
John Ray Williams – Marlinton
Lewis Dixon Wilmoth – Frank