BENSON — When the Vietnam Traveling Wall arrives at San Pedro Golf Course in Benson Wednesday, it will be accompanied by multiple monuments that date back as far as World War I and extend through present day.
The American Veterans Traveling Tributes (AVTT) event in Benson will feature 212 panels which will be on display from Thursday through Sunday for a five-day “Heroes’ Welcome” commemoration.
AVTT will be debuting the newest addition to its collecting in the Afghanistan & Iraq Warrior Tribute, along with the commemorative monuments that include Desert Storm, the USS Cole Attack, the 911 attacks, and more.
“The tribute starts Thursday at noon, it’s free, visitation is available 24 hours, the monuments are well lit and there will be security at the site,” said Najayyah Many Horses, the event organizer. “By making the monuments available at all hours, it gives people an opportunity for quiet reflection.”
The 360-foot Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall replica is modeled after the wall in Washington D.C. Eight-feet tall at its apex, the AVTT wall is the largest of three traveling Vietnam monuments.
“Never before in the history of AVTT’s traveling tributes have all of these monuments been on display at the same time, at the same place,” Many Horses said. “It’s a huge honor that Benson was selected for this, and we look forward to showcasing these extraordinary monuments to the community while honoring all veterans.”
With a full slate of activities that extend from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, the “Heroes Welcome” tribute features a Missing Man Formation aerial salute around noon, two inspirational keynote speakers in Vietnam veteran Bob Wieland and Green Beret John Arroyo, and the renowned Voices of Service quartet, a show-stopping group of veterans that wowed judges when they appeared on America’s Got Talent in 2019.
The event is made possible through a collaboration between the Benson Chamber of Commerce, City of Benson, veterans organizations, businesses and volunteers.
A 40-page program book featuring personal stories, poetry and photos has been compiled and will be available for $5 at the event. Proceeds from the program books will go to the Community Food Pantry of Benson.
“I’m thrilled with the way the community has come together to support this tribute,” Many Horses said. “We appreciate our title sponsor Pride Drilling, as well as all of our sponsors and the community for making this event possible. We could not have done it without your support.”