Moving Wall coming to Lawrence


The Moving Wall, a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be on display at Lawton Loop in Lawrence June 22 through June 25, with a special ceremony set for 1 p.m. June 24.

The keynote speaker will be Sammy L. Davis, the only living Indiana recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, according to the Vietnam Veterans of America Sammy L. Davis Chapter 295, based in Lawrence.

“It is a real thrill for our chapter to have Sammy speak at the Moving Wall again,” said Dennis Smalling, president of VVA Sammy L. Davis Chapter, which is sponsoring the Moving Wall’s visit to Lawrence. “We named our chapter of VVA after him, not just because he received our nation’s highest award for valor during the Vietnam War, but because after his military service, Sammy dedicated his life to promoting the virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice exemplified by members of the military by speaking to school and community groups around the country.”

According to the VVA chapter, Davis earned his Medal of Honor Nov. 18, 1967, while defending Firebase Cudgel near Cai Lay South Vietnam from a Viet Cong attack. During the battle, although wounded, he used machine guns and howitzers to hold off enemy attacks and in spite of a serious back injury that rendered him unable to swim, used an air mattress as a flotation device to ferry three wounded soldiers across a river to safety.

Davis is often referred to as “The Real Forrest Gump” because the movie used footage from Davis’s Medal of Honor ceremony with Tom Hanks’ head superimposed over that of Davis.

Members of Vietnam Veterans of America Sammy L Davis Chapter will erect the Moving Wall at the south end of Lawton Loop in Lawrence beginning June 22 at 9 a.m. The Wall will remain open for viewing 24 hours per day until it is taken down June 25.

The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. June 24, and will include music, blessings from clergy representing several religions, and an address by Sergeant First Class (retired) Sammy L. Davis.