Vietnam Wall swings through Sonoma

Aside from eating red, white and blue pancakes with your gramps who served in World War II, Veterans’ Day is one of those holidays that is difficult to celebrate.

But this year, Sonoma native Dan Parker is helping bring something extra special to the Bay Area.

An 80-percent scale replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall will be displayed outdoors at the Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Building from Thursday to Sunday.

The Wall, which contains all 5,800 of the fallen U.S. soldiers in Vietnam, is the centerpiece of a four-day tribute to veterans and those currently in service.

Parker, commander of VFW Post 1943, told the Press-Democrat this event is an all-inclusive gathering:

“[The tribute is] one that unites veterans of all wars through their common bond and puts a human face on the distant wars that most civilians don’t understand.”

“The Cost of Freedom Tribute” begins on Wednesday at 3 p.m. as The Wall is escorted from the Sonoma Raceway to the Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Building at 126 First St. W. The 30-minute procession includes Highway Patrol, helicopters and about 200 Patriot Guard Riders.

The celebration, which leads up to Veterans’ Day next Monday, includes a veterans job fair and tributes to law enforcement, firefighters and women veterans. A candlelight vigil at the Wall takes place on Saturday evening.

For a detailed schedule, visit http://vfwpost1943.org/page38.html.