Thursday, November 20, 2008
Honoring our veterans
The “Cost of Freedom Tribute” will roll into Holly Springs next week with a helicopter escort and parade.
The Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Collins-Hurdle VFW Post #5697 are hosting the tribute, which is slated to be on the courtsquare Tuesday through Monday, November 25-December 1.
American Veterans Traveling Tribute (AVTT) is a group of veteran owners who are committed to travel the USA to honor, respect, and remember those who served, and pay specific tribute to those who are also serving now.
To fulfill its mission, the “Cost of Freedom Tribute” consists of various memorials and exhibits that pay honor to all servicemen and women. It should not be considered as veterans honoring other veterans, but rather a total community involvement. It is a mark of respect to service and sacrifice.
The centerpiece of the tribute is an 80 percent replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall. It contains 100 percent of the names on the original wall in Washington. This portion of the exhibit is called the Traveling Wall and should not be confused with other replica walls such as – The Moving Wall, The Dignity Wall or the Wall That Heals.
Among the memorials are The Cost of Freedom and 911 Memorial. The Cost of Freedom contains gold dog tags to record the names of those who gave their lives for our freedom since Vietnam, including present-day Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The 911 Memorial is a stand-up exhibit with lighted twin towers. Each name is recorded according to their location.
Walk of Heroes is a series of stand-ups to pay homage and highlight the United States’ history and the conflicts it has been involved in to ensure freedom. This exhibit represents the true cost of freedom in lives.
World War II is remembered through displays of pictures and information that give specific tribute to that era of veterans.
In addition, there is a Personal Tribute Panel. Anyone can purchase a silver custom-inscribed dog tag to place on the panel. This is a tribute and a personal message to a loved one, past or present. Once purchased, they become part of the panel and will travel the USA with all other exhibits including nationally acclaimed original paintings called Vietnam Remembered.
The AVTT is not government-sponsored or affiliated. It is self-funded via sponsorship fees, donations and sales of merchandise at the events. It is managed by a board of directors and all funds are allocated to support the organization’s mission and other veteran causes or charities.
Each day will feature a formal ceremony to complement the exhibit. Ceremonies are slated to include local choirs and bands, as well as dignitary keynote speakers, nightly Taps, a fly-over and 21-gun salute, a non-denominational church service, and a candlelight vigil, among other things.
The entire exhibit is free of charge, but donations are accepted. For more information, call Amy S. Heaton, executive director of the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce, at (662) 252-2943, Bill Janssen, Collins Hurdle VFW Post Commander, at (662) 629-0007, or visit www.hschamber.org.
This is considered one of the most moving and anticipated events of any community. The Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Collins-Hurdle VFW Post #5697 are honored to bring this monumental event to Mid-South citizens and invite everyone to spend this Thanksgiving holiday thanking those who have fought for our freedom in Holly Springs.
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