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Honoring Women Veterans at the Traveling Vietnam Wall

Special event July 11 part of July 9-12 display in Lexington

By Lisa Aug

Frankfort, KY -- (July 3, 2015) - Kentucky's women veterans, especially those of the Vietnam War era, will be the focus of a special event at the Traveling Vietnam Wall on Saturday, July 11.

The American Veterans Traveling Tribute wall, an 80-percent scale model of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington, D.C., will be on display at the Kentucky Horse Park from noon Thursday, July 9, through 3 p.m. Sunday, July 12. Eight feet high and 360 feet long, this memorial provides an electronic locator to help visitors find the names of particular service members carved in the wall.

The Traveling Wall's visit to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington is sponsored by the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs (KDVA), through a grant from the Kentucky Veterans Program Trust Fund.

"Athena's Sisters has been working closely with KDVA to recognize military women statewide and intergenerationally the past year in honor of 2015 Year of the Veteran Woman," said Lindsay Gargotto, founder and CEO of Athena's Sisters. "We hope to create something we can keep for all military women in our community. During this special time we will be storytelling with Vietnam veteran women and engaging in a creative activity to show the strengths and uniqueness of each and every military woman who joins us!"

Athena's Sisters is a nonprofit grassroots organization run by and for military women for physical and mental health care access and education.

The event begins at 5 p.m. July 11 with remarks by a Kentucky woman veteran of the Vietnam War. It will include making and sharing warrior shields to represent courage, dignity, honor and healing.

"We hope Kentucky's women veterans will take this opportunity to share the meaning of their service with each other at the Traveling Wall," said KDVA Commissioner Heather French Henry. "Especially in Kentucky Women Veterans UNITE! 2015, we want women veterans to feel welcome and appreciated."

Governor Steve Beshear will be the keynote speaker at the opening ceremony, at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 10, followed by retired Brig. Gen. Dan Cherry and retired Maj. Gen. Arnold Fields.

Visitors to the Traveling Wall are encouraged to leave photographs, flowers or other mementos to loved ones. KDVA asks that everyone attending this special showing of the Memorial Wall respect the request of the Wall's sponsors to not bring weapons when they visit.

Visitors to the Traveling Wall and the opening ceremony will be able to enter the Horse Park and park free of charge. After it opens at noon July 9, the wall exhibit will be open 24 hours a day through 3 p.m. Sunday, July 12.

This year, Gov. Beshear proclaimed March 30, 2015, as Vietnam Veterans' Day in Kentucky, as part of Kentucky's partnership in the 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemoration. Last September, more than 500 veterans, family and friends commemorated that anniversary in a ceremony at the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Frankfort.

A total of 1,104 Kentuckians died in the Vietnam War. In addition to appearing on the Traveling Wall, their names are inscribed at the permanent memorial in Frankfort, where a shadow falls on each veteran's name on the anniversary of death.

There are approximately 111,000 Vietnam veterans living in the Commonwealth, and many continue to serve their communities and fellow veterans through volunteerism, counseling and camaraderie.

Gov. Beshear's administration has worked hard to show support and appreciation for veterans and military families, in ways large and small.

For example, Gov. Beshear, state and federal officials this year announced the launch of telemental health services out of the Joseph "Eddie" Ballard Western Kentucky Veterans Center in Hanson, part of an effort to expand mental health services to veterans in western Kentucky. KDVA is also in the process of building a fourth state veterans nursing home, in Radcliff. Construction began in July 2013; the facility is scheduled to open around the end of this year.

This story was posted on 2015-07-03 15:29:46
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