VILLAGE OF EDEN, N.Y. (WKBW) A southtowns community welcomes one of the traveling Vietnam War memorials. The 385 members of the American Legion Post in Eden will host the tribute through the weekend. Led by local police departments...around one thousand motorcycle riders thundered into Eden Wednesday afternoon. "I'm overwhelmed. I didn't expect this many," remarked Jim Trembadh, a Vietnam veteran.
The procession started in the southern end of Erie County, it was the official escort for the American Veterans Traveling Tribute. It's an 80 percent, scale version, of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. The American Legion Post in Eden has been working for the last year to bring this tribute wall here.
"The initial cost is six thousand dollars...plus other expenses. We did fund raisers, we went out for monetary donations. We went out for in kind services and we raised a lot of money," said Paul Lawton, a post member. Eden schools raised the largest single amount. But, support has been community wide. Local farmers donated pots of flowers. Members of the post and other volunteers have been readying the site for months. "We bought fifty pieces of plywood. We painted them on both sides. We painted them with a sandpaper effect so that people wouldn't slide on it," Ken Franz, head of the landscape committee, said.
Legion post officials believe the next four days will be emotional for many veterans and their families. "It maybe a closure for some. It may open wounds for some. But, we hope it's a closure for them so they get on with their life, in a good way," Lawton added.
It's a journey that veterans won't have to take alone. "There will be people here to provide help to them. Grievance counselors...a locator table where, if they want to find someone one on the wall real quick," American Legion Post Commander Jim Blidy said.
The wall will be erected Thursday morning. An opening ceremony will take place at noon and will include a military fly over. The wall will then be open 24 hours a day until the closing ceremony Sunday afternoon.