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Piedmont hosts Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall replica

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History enthusiasts and friends and families of Vietnam veterans can view the Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall this weekend at Piedmont High School's Stout Field, 1055 Edmond.

The wall is a two-thirds-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., adorned with more than 58,000 names engraved on its black granite surface, said Jeremy Sparks, spokesman for the Dignity Memorial.

The monument is displayed in 10 to 12 cities across the country each year, he said. It is 8 feet tall, 240 feet long and shipped on an 18-wheeler semi-truck.

"The monument service is available to those who might never travel to D.C. to see the actual memorial," he said.

The celebration begins 4 p.m. today with the wall's arrival by motorcycle escort. When the memorial came to Oklahoma four years ago, it was flanked by 5,000 motorcycles that led the traveling wall to its staging spot. This year, Sparks predicted more than 6,000 bikers would join the procession.

The opening ceremonies begin Friday and include speeches by Lt. Gov. Jari Askins and Brig. Gen. James McCormack, bagpipes and the national anthem, Sparks said. The opening will also feature flyovers by an F-16 fighter jet and an A-1 Skyraider, an attack bomber used in the Vietnam War, Sparks said.

The memorial is free and viewable Friday through Sunday.

"We would love to have everyone come out and have veterans come and experience (the wall), especially their family members," Sparks said.

For more information, call 843-5771. "Jamie Birdwell

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