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Thursday, March 21 , 2019, 10:20 pm | Fair 52º

 
 
 
 

Replica Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Visits Santa Barbara

Locals take the opportunity to recognize those who gave their lives in war in Southeast Asia

Colorado Springs resident Sandra Janzen looks for her fiancé’s name on The Moving Wall, a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, in Santa Barbara on Wednesday. Sgt. Daniel A. Irelan, 19, died on Aug. 2, 1969, as the result of an aircraft collision about five miles north east of Tam Ky, Vietnam. Click to view larger
Colorado Springs resident Sandra Janzen looks for her fiancé’s name on The Moving Wall, a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, in Santa Barbara on Wednesday. Sgt. Daniel A. Irelan, 19, died on Aug. 2, 1969, as the result of an aircraft collision about five miles north east of Tam Ky, Vietnam. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Sandra Janzen searched the sea of names listed on a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Santa Barbara Wednesday and held a picture of her fallen fiancé on her cell phone.

“He was my high school sweetheart,” Janzen said. “Daniel was kind and generous. He was shipped out, and that was the last time I saw him.”

Daniel A. Irelan, 19, died on Aug. 2, 1969, and was among the 58,267 young men and women who sacrificed their lives in service to their country.

The Moving Wall, a duplicate of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be exhibited at Santa Barbara’s Chase Palm Park until Monday to honor the fallen soldiers who died serving their country in the Vietnam War.

On a cloudy Wednesday morning, the 252-foot polished black aluminum wall reflected the faces of mourners.

The names of the fallen and of those who remain missing are inscribed in the order they died.

“It’s important to remember,” said Janzen, a Colorado Springs resident who has also visited the original memorial at the nation’s capital. “The memorial never dies."

Ninety-eight of the names listed are from Santa Barbara County, according to Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 218 of Santa Barbara.

For chapter member Don Matter, the wall is a reflection of courage and devotion to the country.

The Dos Pueblos High School alumnus attended school with two Vietnam veterans who died in the war. 

“It means a lot to me,” Matter said. “I knew two people who are on the wall. We weren’t close, but I saw them every day.”

Staffed by veterans and civilian volunteers, the wall will be open to the public 24-hours a day during the five-day stop.

The names were lit by lights once darkness fell, and at about 6:30 p.m., mourners paused to listen to the sounds of a live bugler.

The Moving Wall was made by a group of Vietnam Veterans in 1985, and was built to share with those who could not travel to Washington, D.C.

Vietnam War veterans John Devitt and Gerry Haver came up with the idea after they attended the 1982 dedication of the National Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall.

This traveling memorial is making its sixth visit to the Santa Barbara area.

A dedication ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, and a non-denominational candlelight service at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 218 of Santa Barbara, meets at 6 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every month at the Santa Barbara Elks Lodge, 150 N. Kellogg Ave. in Goleta.

The organization welcomes veterans from the 1959-1975 era.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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