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2024 The Wall That Heals, Hilo, Hawaii
From January 18 to January 29, 2024, five chapter members, their wives, some family members and friends went to Hilo, Hawaii for The Wall That Heals Event. When the exhibit came to San Luis Obispo in March, 2023, members of the Hawaii committee came to observe. They took notes and said that if they were successful in having the exhibit come to Hawaii, we were invited to participate.
Everyone who went to Hilo, signed up to ride in the escort and/or work shifts during the week. As many people know, Hilo experiences 250-inches of rain per year. However, there was not a drop of rain during the time the exhibit was on display. The weather was perfect for shorts and T-shirts adding to the success of their effort. Thousands of people visited the site.
Monday, January 22 was Escort Day. Approximately 100 Vietnam Veterans on two and three-wheel vehicles led the nine mile course, followed by The Wall That Heals and probably another 100 motorcycle enthusiasts behind. The escort passed elementary, middle, and high schools. All the students lined the streets to greet the procession.
Tuesday was assembly day. Our members took part. Wednesday was the opening ceremony. Thursday evening held an Agent Orange candlelight vigil. The lighting on the wall was covered with translucent orange tape which draped the wall in orange light. Saturday was the Welcome Home presentation where local community leaders, cultural leaders, military leaders, and veteran services representatives participated. While the Royal Hawaiian Guard Drill Team performed, five F-22 jets flew over in the Missing Man formation. On Sunday afternoon, a somber closing ceremony was held, the exhibit dismantled, and left for the trip to Maui, it’s next destination.