OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) — Owensboro is hosting the Traveling Kentucky Vietnam War Memorial Wall this weekend.
The memorial’s owner, Jack Mattingly, says it offers an opportunity for reflection that many Kentucky veterans and their families otherwise might not have.
He tells us the idea of traveling with his own memorial came from his own experiences in Vietnam and his promise to other service members who didn’t make it.
“Before they would die, they would ask me to tell their mothers, fathers, their wives, kids that they loved them. I didn’t know who they were, so I didn’t know how to do that so I carried it with me for 35 to 40 years,” says Mattingly.
Mattingly also tells us how a trip with his wife to see a traveling wall gave him the idea to make his own.
“My wife convinced me to go to London, Kentucky to see one of the traveling walls, I didn’t want to go, but I finally went down to see it,” he says. “They say you touch the wall, it touches you back and it did. I broke that day. And from there on out, I’ve got to tell the 1,108 from Kentucky who lost their lives in Vietnam is the last thing they said was that they loved you.”
The memorial is set up at the VFW Post in downtown Owensboro. We’re told one goal of the wall is to journey to every county in the Commonwealth.