AV Wall

Legion Riders 311 and Patriot Guard Riders escort the AV Mobile Vietnam Memorial, Tuedsay, on its way to display in El Centro for Veterans Day.

PALMDALE — The work began before sunrise Tuesday, but not long after, those in the Antelope Valley Vietnam Memorial procession, revved up the rolling thunder of their motorcycle engines for the trip to El Centro for Veterans Day.

American Legion Riders 311 joined with Patriot Guard Riders and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to form a motorcycle escort for the Antelope Valley’s grassroots memorial to the more than 58,000 fallen of the Vietnam War.

The AV Wall’s component parts, in the form of dozens of panels with all the names of Vietnam War dead on them, is a half-scale tribute to the Vietnam Memorial on the Mall in Washington, DC.

In the dozen years since the AV Wall debuted, it has been visited by more than 100,000 people at locations across Southern California.

“The AV Wall is our way of saying ‘thank you’ for the sacrifice of all whose names are listed on the Vietnam Memorial,” AV Wall Committee President Michael Bertell said.

Drafted into the Army, he served with the 101st Airborne Division as a combat infantryman in Vietnam. He led the prayer as dozens of leather-clad motorcyclists gathered in a circle early Tuesday.

The ride captain, Vietnam-era Coast Guard veteran Dave Corbin, said, “This may be my last ride,” noting he planned an out-of-state move, soon.

Army veteran Jim Jacobs gave him a hug and said, “Most of you don’t know that we might lose Dave, but I think we all owe him our thanks.”

Corbin has served as ride captain for many years.

With that, the trucks loaned by Hunter Dodge, gunned their engines and the trailer holding the AV Wall panels rolled onto Palmdale Boulevard on a 223-mile journey to the Imperial Valley community.

Most years, the AV Wall has been presented at Marie Kerr Park in Palmdale, as well as the AV Fairgrounds, but other groups seek the monument to honor veterans in their own communities.

Linda Willis and Stacia Nemeth, who coordinate volunteer efforts, note that is how the nonprofit memorial, maintained by Point Man Ministries of the AV, supports the presentation and maintenance.

The AV Wall will be on display at Bucklin Park, 1350 Eighth Street, El Centro, through Sunday.

(1) comment

Jimzan 2.0

Two of my very dearest friends went to Vietnam...Lost one of them 1 year ago....."Smitty". Going to have my friend over (Zach) for Homemade Lasagne on Nov 11th. They are both heroes in my eyes....as are "ALL" Veterans.

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