HUMBOLDT COUNTY- For the first time since 1985, the traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Replica is in Humbolt County. Pierre Carbonneau of Amvets Post 96 Riders said, “For me, it’s being a Vietnam vet, this means an honor that we really never received when we came home.” The wall is one of four based out of Washington D.C. that travels to various organizations across the nation.
Dozens of motorcycle riders, many Vietnam vets, took part in escorting the wall from Redding and making a pit stop in Willow Creek, before arriving at the final destination in Loleta. Donna Landry, also of Amvets Post 96 Riders said, “For me personally, my brother is a Vietnam vet and he’s up here in Willow Creek and it’s like wow because Vietnam era veterans did not get a very good welcome when they came back so this is another opportunity to honor them.” In Willow Creek, the riders stopped at Buddy’s Auto Shop, where owner, Rick Stewart offered his place. He said, “This is just a small token of appreciation of what they’ve done.”
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is especially important to Humboldt County because the community is very rich in Vietnam veterans. Pierre Carbonneau said, “There’s fifty of our Humboldt vets on the plaques and that’s a big thing to me and just to be honored and honoring them and setting it up so the Vietnam vets can come and see it in Loleta it’s going to be a big thing.”
Riders say it took a lot of donations and organization to get the wall here. It will remain at the Bear River Community Center in Loleta until Sunday. “It makes me feel proud, very proud,” said Carbonneau.
Opening ceremony is Thursday at 10 a.m. Humboldt Transit Authority is offering free rides to the wall starting on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.