Wall2A video of the opening ceremony.
Wall1Video of the Wall arriving in Richmond Hill.
Mayor Richard Davis officially declared that J.F. Gregory Park will be called "Freedom Park" for the time that the Moving Wall is there. At the event’s opening ceremony, Davis said he was inspired to do this because of the emotions that overtake him when he looks out at the trio of monuments before him: The Moving Wall, the Blue Star Memorial Marker and the Veterans Monument.
"During my time as mayor here in Richmond Hill, I’ve attended many important events and have witnessed countless ceremonies," Davis said. "I will be honest and tell you that, in my 30 years in city government, this is the most important event I have ever attended."
Earlier that morning, residents lined the streets waving miniature flags while veterans on 27 motorcycles and emergency vehicles led the way. Thus was the scene as the truck carrying the Moving Wall departed from its rest stop at the Best Western on Hwy. 17 to J.F. Gregory Park, where it will be on display until Monday.
The three hour construction process then began, with volunteer assistance from military-dressed Youth Challenge teen group from Fort Stewart.
"We try to do as much community service as we can, but this event is very special to these young men," said Youth Challenge leader Sgt. Rayfield Gilyard.
After set-up, WJCL news anchor Casey Jones stepped into the spotlight to mc the opening ceremony. As did the Georgia National Guard color guard and a string of speakers that included County Commission Chairman Jimmy Burnsed and County Commissioner and American Legion Post 27 Past Post and District Commander Rick Gardner.
Burnsed said he is sick and tired of, "all this rigmarole of being against the War in Iraq. It’s unbelievable to perceive someone not supporting our troops who earn our freedom."
Gardner, who served in Vietnam, said he had "friends, classmates and neighbors on this Wall."
The Moving Wall will be at "Freedom Park" until the closing ceremony Monday at 3 p.m.
Today will be a big day for the Moving Wall event as a military Chinook helicopter, flown in by Bravo company 1/169 Aviation Detachment, will land in the park at 9 a.m. and be on display until 3 p.m. Local emergency vehicles will be on display as well, including the first public display of the massive Bryan County mobile command center. Organizations such as the Red Cross and POW/MIA will have displays as well.