To the Newton Independent:
Congratulations to the Iowa Grand Motorcycle Rally and the Iowa Speedway for a successful event. I would like to address one aspect of the event that has drawn criticism, some deserved and some not.
The Wall That Heals is a portable tribute to our nation's Vietnam Veterans. It is a someber reminder of the ultimate pricce of freedom and the sacrifices that have been made by our fellow Americans when their country called. The display of the Wall is an event in itself.
The logistics of a large rally, such as the one held last weekend, made it nearly impossible to ensure all details and protocol were properly handled. Both the Speedway and the Grand Rally group should be commended for bringing this Wall to central Iowa. Could things have been done a bit differently? Possibly. In the end, the reason the Wall exists and the tribute it intends to extol should be the thoughts that we are left with.
On Tuesday, I visited with Bob Dobek, who serves as the site manager for the Wall. He had mixed feelings about the circumstances, but appreciated the effort that was extended. He shared that there were no hard feelings on his part because, as he stated, "it's all about the names on the Wall."
With that being said, we have started raising the funds to have the Wall returned to Jasper County in the near future. The cost to host the Wall stands at $5,000. We issued a challenge on Monday to have 50 people donate $100 towards the cause. As of Tuesday morning, I have received 31 commitments. The Iowa Speedway Foundation will also be donating towards our effort.
I have no doubt that we will have the commitments by Friday. If you would like to contribute to this cause, please give me a call. Any additional funds that may be raised over the $5,000 will be donated to the Virtual Learning Center that is being built at the national Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The Vietnam War and the Vietnam Wall conjure up many emotions. We plan to place the Wall in a very quiet and somber location so families and vets have a chance to reflect and honor those listed. I would ask that we all take a minute to catch our breath and work in a positive manner to rectify the situation. Jasper County has worked very hard to show a new level of respect and honor for our wartime veterans. Together, we can keep that momentum moving forward.
In the end, as Bob stated, "it's all about the names on the Wall."