Two men bringing traveling veterans tribute to East Peoria

Local News

EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD)– Two city leaders want to bring a replica of Washington D.C.’s Vietnam memorial to East Peoria, so that people can honor vets, locally. They are excited about the wall because of the experience it provides veterans.

At 300 feet long, the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall is a replica of the actual wall in Washington D.C. On honor flights, veterans can see it in person, but not everyone can always make the trip.

“Not every veteran can make it to D.C. as part of the honor flight, so I thought if we could bring the traveling wall here, it would give local veterans the opportunity to come to visit the wall,” said East Peoria firefighter, Justin Hale.

East Peoria fireman, Justin Hale, and councilman, Dan Decker got the idea a couple of years back.

“It started as one of those far-fetched things, like would we ever be able to get that accomplished,” Decker said.

The wall will be in town later this year in September and is being funded completely on private donations.

“We’re hoping to raise money for the event to help sponsor the wall which costs around $7000,” Hale said.

Just like the one in Washington, the traveling wall lists the names of every United States military member who served, is missing in action and made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.

“People can find relatives, friends, people from the community. Some of them find names on the wall of people they served with and that can get very emotional,” Decker said.

Donations will not only fund the wall but also go towards sending vets on future honor flights.

“It’s important to me, I’ve been on 12 flights as a volunteer. It’s a very moving event to be a part of,” Hale said.

If you want to see the wall, admission will be free on September 23-27 at Levee Park.

Courtesy: Justin Hale

If you want an extra incentive, donations are able to be written off on your taxes.

Donations can be mailed to the East Peoria Community Foundation to 401 East Washington Street. You can donate either cash or check.

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