The Cost of Freedom and American Veteran Traveling Tribute exhibit is set to be on display in Moundsville Aug. 22-26.
In addition to 15 exhibits, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall will also be on display.
Plans are now under way to bring the traveling tribute to service and sacrifice to the city. Tuesday more than 30 area representatives of various groups and organizations met at the former West Virginia Penitentiary to coordinate their efforts and plan for the arrival of the exhibit.
Photo by Art Limann
Moundsville City Councilman Phil Remke, center, addresses a gathering at the former West Virginia Penitentiary on Thursday to plan for the visit of the “Cost of Freedom and American Veteran Traveling Tribute,” which will be on display in Moundsville Aug. 22-26.
"This is a major, major event for the city," Moundsville Councilman Phil Remke told those gathered. "It is going to be a big event. It is a major, major undertaking. It is not just for the city of Moundsville, but for the whole area."
Remke said he expects as many as 20,000 to 30,000 people might visit the exhibit while it is in the city. Others at the meeting said they thought the number might go has high as 50,000 to 60,000. Remke noted he believes the traveling tribute could draw people from as far as 125 miles away.
West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania veterans organizations will be involved, and several bus groups have already expressed interest in attending, he said.
The 380-foot long wall, which stands 8 feet tall, will be brought to the city in sections. It is 4/5 the size of the actual wall and will be erected in front of the old penitentiary on Jefferson Avenue. Four blocks of the street will be blocked to traffic.
Plans call for other exhibits to be erected around the area, including at the Grave Creek Mound Archeological Complex.
Remke said the cost to bring in the wall alone is $6,000. Overall, he expects the total cost to be between $30,000 and $40,000. The funding will come from grants and donations, he said. He noted he hopes the event will actually be able to raise funds for veterans.
A memorial service is being planned and will be held at John Marshall High School's Monarch Stadium. Teachers are going to be invited to bring classes to view the display. A large number of volunteers are going to be needed to assist in various areas.
Suzanne Park of the Moundsville Economic Development Council said the goal is to have all the event planning done and in place by the end of May. A website about the event is also being developed.