This summer, the St. Regis Mohawk Akwesasne Reserve’s American Legion Post #1479 will be hosting “The Moving Wall,” a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall located in Washington D.C. The Moving Wall, which has been traveling the country for more than 20 years, was created by Vietnam Veteran John Devitt who saw the need for Veterans that were not in the vicinity of Washington D.C. to pay their respects and reflect in their own towns.
American Legion Post #1479 Commander Todd Conners, a St. Regis Mohawk and Marine Gulf-war veteran, was excited that the Moving Wall was able to make a stop in Akwesasne.
“We got lucky,” said Conners. “We put in the application eight months ago and I expected about two years until it would be here. They called us and said, we have an opening in July, are you interested? I said yes, of course.”
Though he is optimistic Conners says meeting the costs associated with bringing the memorial to his area is a top priority. “We are doing a lot of fundraising right now; this is not a cheap endeavor. We need approximately $13,000.”
Conners also said he is appreciative that the memorial wall is coming on to Native land and will be honoring those Native veterans that gave the ultimate sacrifice.
“I think this is incredible. I am almost certain that we are the first American Legion located on Native land that is hosting the Memorial wall. A lot of our members are from the Vietnam era and they are not getting any younger. They have a lot of pride.”
“There are also service members from the Akwesasne area that are on the wall. These service members were just young guys and they stepped up to the plate. The families are stepping up and it is hitting close to home,” said Conners.
The Moving Wall will be arriving in Akwesasne on July 18 and will take about four hours to set up. The wall will remain at the American Legion #1479 grounds for 6 days and will be taken down on July 24th. On Saturday July 21st, the American Legion #1479 and tribal members will be hosting a grand opening tribute pow-wow style event with Native drummers, singers and dancers. Conners is also asking for volunteers and contributions to assist with costs associated to bring the wall to Akwesasne. The public is invited and welcome to attend.
For more information contact:
The American Legion Post #1479 - Akwesasne Mohawk Reserve
State Route 37, Racquette Rd - Hogansburg, NY 13655
Contact Person: Commander Todd Conners
(518) 358-9976 Todd_Conners@Yahoo.com