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Date secured for American Veterans' Traveling Tribute

Joanne Winer

July 25th, 2006

The town of Quartzsite will be hosting the American Veterans' Traveling Tribute from Jan. 26 to Feb. 5, 2007. The tribute will include the largest replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, which is 370 feet long and 8 feet high at the apex.

The event will be one of the largest single gatherings in this area, expecting to draw visitors from all over the county and state to Quartzsite during the busiest weeks of the winter season.

The Wall Foundation, owners of the Traveling Tribute, have been in contact with organizers in Quartzsite and have offered to have the exhibit come into Quartzsite in January just after it visits Wickenburg, Ariz. from Jan. 18 to 22. They were originally going to have the event for seven days but have offered to stay for 10 days for the same price to accommodate all the anticipated visitors at that time.

The event is being sponsored by Celia's Rainbow Gardens in cooperation with the Town of Quartzsite, VFW Post 769, VFW Ladies Auxiliary and the Quartzsite Business Chamber of Commerce.

They will all be working together to get the event organized and deciding what ceremonies will be held during the 10 days that it will be in town. There will be opening ceremonies once the Wall and all the displays have been put up and closing ceremonies when it is time to take it down.

Each day that it is in Quartzsite there will be different ceremonies and guest speakers, as well as classes of school children bused in from all over the county. These organizers will also be working on the fund-raising efforts to get the rest of the payment for the Wall to get here - $2,000 has been sent in to secure the date and the rest of the $8,000 will be raised by donations and fund-raisers.

Extra expenses will also be needed for accommodations for the crew and meals for their stay here, publicity, displays, transportation etc.

Many of the VFWs and American Legions in the county and Blythe have already been contacted to see if they would like to be involved in this event.

Letters are also being sent to all schools in the county and Blythe to see if they would like to be part of the event.

It is hoped that every school will have some veterans visit and talk to the children about the Wall and what it means to be a veteran, and that the children will be bused to the event at some time so they can see what it is all about.

Plans are to ask the children to participate by writing essays or poems, helping make ribbon or crepe flowers for the event and being part of the ceremonies, etc.

Volunteers will be needed for many aspects of this event, from helping to set it up, help in the display areas, parking cars, working on computers to find names, clean up and much more.

If you would like to be a volunteer for this event, call the Quartzsite Business Chamber of Commerce at 928-927-9321 or call Joanne Winer at 928-927-6551 for more information.

If you are a veteran and would like to take a turn at guarding the Wall, call Anita Carlson at the Quartzsite VFW 928-927-7697 and leave your information for the schedule.

Donation cans will soon be set out at many businesses in Quartzsite or you can donate by sending a check to the Quartzsite Business Chamber of Commerce at P.O. Box 2566, Quartzsite, Az., 85346.

Please make checks out to "The Wall Fund/Joanne Winer."

You can also leave any donations at the Business Chamber office at 101 W. Main Street or Reader's Oasis Bookstore in Quartzsite.

Several groups will also be holding fund-raisers - bake sales, car washes, dinners, raffles, etc.

Many businesses have also offered to help with the event by donating materials and services that will be needed.

It is hoped that several of the RV dealers in Quartzsite over the winter will agree to loan one of their used RVs for the crew accommodations, since the motels in town will be fully booked for that week.

Also needed will be enough indoor/outdoor rugs to put in front of the wall, benches, potted plants, and pipes for flags. It will help if these items can be borrowed for the event and returned to keep costs down.

It is also hoped that materials like wired wide ribbon, floral tape, cans of paint, and decorations will also be donated for the kids to make the flowers. If you can help with any of these items, contact Joanne at 928-927-6551.

This event will take a lot of planning, and will need a lot of volunteers to make it a success. According to sponsors, the Traveling Tribute has touched the hearts and souls of everyone who has ever seen it and it is expected to be a very emotional experience for everyone who visits it in Quartzsite, especially veterans.