Kentucky Traveling Vietnam Wall arrives in Owensboro


OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) Before the bands arrived on stage at Friday After 5, a traveling tribute to those who lost their lives in the Vietnam War arrived in Owensboro. 

The Kentucky State Traveling Vietnam Wall is in the city for the weekend.

The names of more than 1,100 Kentuckians who lost their lives during the Vietnam War are on the wall that arrived in Owensboro earlier today. While some started their 4th of July weekend celebrating, others started it remembering.

It arrived in pieces this morning to be put together outside the Owensboro Convention Center. Once put together, people started looking and remembering.

“My pastor’s brother is on there. Always look his name up,” said Sam Byrd of Owensboro. “When I see that, I just kind of look at it as we lost a good, young man in Vietnam.”

“I had an uncle that served in it. He often talked about what he went through. It’s a little bit of sadness and a little bit of joy that you’re not forgetting and remembering,” adds Chris Westerfield of Ohio County.

The Kentucky Traveling Vietnam Wall, first made three years ago, made its first appearance in Daviess County in two years. The latest stop as it goes to every county across the commonwealth.

“These folks on the wall, they’re the heroes,” said Owensboro Mayor Tom Watson, during today’s ceremony.

“This is part of my healing,” says Jack Mattingly, who leads the group managing the wall. He helped start it after visiting another Vietnam Wall replica several years ago.

“My wife found out that the 58,000 wall was going to be in London, Kentucky and she talked me in to going to that wall. I walked up to it, and I broke,” he recalled. “I’m a marine, but Marines do cry.”

The traveling wall is here for the weekend to help people remember those names for much longer.

Mattingly also says the wall is a good way for people unable to get to Washington to remember loved ones they lost during the conflict.

(This story was originally published on July 2, 2021)

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