Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall gives people a chance to honor Veterans in Central Illinois

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EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — People can now pay their respects or find the name of a loved one among the more than 58,000 names on the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall in East Peoria.

At Thursday’s opening ceremony, community members honored those who fought and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Hal Fritz also spoke on the importance of remembering veterans.

Fritz is a Medal of Honor recipient. It’s the military’s highest decoration.

He says the memorial helps veterans heal and reminds people of those who lost their lives.

“For many, they can’t get to Washington and so it provides closure. They see the names of family members perhaps or friends that were killed in action,” said Fritz.

The wall is open 24 hours a day and for people to visit.

Fritz says it’s often an emotional experience for people.

“I’ve got six names on there of people that I served with that were killed in combat and every time you look at those names, you remember the actions, you remember what happened, you remember the families,” said Fritz.

The Greater Peoria Honor Flight is also raising money at the wall, and an anonymous donor is matching $2,000 in donations.

The Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall is in East Peoria until Sunday at 2 p.m.

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