BRATTLEBORO — A planned display of the Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall in September at Moore Field on Putney Road has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The wall will instead come to town beginning Sept. 16, 2021.
In a letter to The Commons, Len Derby, president of the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Chapter 843, said he was making the announcement “with great sadness.”
The local VVA chapter started doing its planning and fundraising last fall to bring the wall to town.
The wall is a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the black granite wall in Washington, D.C., which has served for nearly four decades as enduring recognition for the more than 58,000 men and women who gave their lives or remain missing in action during the Vietnam War.
“Due to the coronavirus and everyone's safety, we thought it was best to go through with the postponing of the wall,” Derby wrote.
“Hopefully, we will be in the clear from this virus thing by this time next year,” he added.
Brattleboro is not the only town that has had to push their display date of the Moving Wall to next year. According to Vietnam Combat Veterans, Ltd., the group responsible for the care and transport of two Moving Wall displays around the United States, all scheduled displays of the memorial have been canceled or postponed for the rest of 2020.
Derby wrote that “donations have come to a complete stop” since the pandemic began, but the group hopes that they will pick up again soon. The local VVA chapter, which is sponsoring the Moving Wall's visit, set a goal last fall of at least $7,500 to cover the costs.
The planned appearance of the Moving Wall at Moore Field will mark its first stop in Windham County since it was displayed in Wilmington in 2013.
The site where the wall is to be displayed, Moore Field, has a connection with another war. In 1942, during World War II, American Optical Company (AO) built a plant on Putney Road which employed more than 300 people.
It closed in 1983, and Fulflex, a maker of elastic products, moved in. Fulflex currently is one of the leading suppliers of elastic for the now-ubiquitous facial masks that have become a valuable tool in a contemporary fight - the battle to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Derby said last fall that he used to work at Fulflex, so it was easy to convince the owners of the plant to allow the Moving Wall to be displayed on the north end of the field, where it will be fully accessible to all visitors.