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Members of the local U.S. Armed Forces remember Vietnam Veterans at The Wall That Heals

By May 11, 2011No Comments

To view more photos of Tuesday’s wreath-laying ceremony at The Wall That Heals, visit

The Wall That Heals Wreath-Laying ceremony

They may be gone, but they are certainly not forgotten.

On Tuesday, representatives of Somerset-based Armed Forces recruiting offices representing the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force paid tribute to the more than 58,000 service members killed or reported missing in action during Veteran War at a wreath-laying ceremony at The Wall That Heals.

The mobile Vietnam Veterans Wall and Museum—a half-scale replica of the actual Wall located in Washington, D.C.—is on display this week on the grounds of The Center for Rural Development.

Veterans, family members, and people of all ages have been coming at all hours of the day and night since Monday’s opening ceremony to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect America’s freedom.

Shortly before the wreath-laying ceremony began, Vietnam Veteran Thomas Burns was down on his knees searching one of the black aluminum frame panels for the name of a lost shipmate, Alvain Marion Shifflett Jr., who he served with on U.S. Navy’s USS Oriskany from 1964-68. He found Shisslett’s name near the center panel.

“We were close … like family,” he said. “We came up through the ranks together.”

Burns said Shisslett was killed in 1966 in a freak accident onboard the aircraft carrier, nicknamed “Mighty O,” when the crew was taking up the ship’s anchor.

Participating in the wreath-laying ceremony were James Ellis and Chad Grinnell, recruiting officers for the U.S. Navy; and Sam Pruett, a recruiting officer for U.S. Air Force. They were introduced by Clarence Floyd and Michael McKee of the Somerset American Legion Post 38 Honor Guard.

“I want to say thank you to all our veterans … and the fine young men and women who are bravely serving our country today,” Ellis said.

Daily military observances will be held at noon through the closing ceremony this Saturday at noon. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) also is collecting photos of Kentuckians whose names are listed on The Wall for a future project in Washington, D.C. The photographs may be scanned at the mobile museum, located in The Center’s South Parking Lot.