The following is Mayor Scott Schoeffel’s address at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Traveling Wall closing ceremony at Sea Terrace Park on Monday.
Good afternoon. We are here today to say farewell to the Vietnam Veterans Traveling Wall and close a remarkable period in Dana Point history. Such a moment should cause all of us to reflect upon the events of the past six days, a process that will no doubt stir many memories amongst us.
I believe there is something about this momentous event, however, that will be defined less by what we remember and more by what we cannot possibly forget. So I have made a list of the things I will not forget about the Wall and its time in our city and I would like to share it with you now.
I will not forget the unselfish efforts and contributions of so many, led by our local VFW Post 9934, to bring the Wall to Dana Point so that we all could share this singular experience in our home town.
How can I possibly forget the privilege of riding in the procession of motorcyclists escorting the Wall into Sea Terrace Park last Wednesday? I am deeply honored and grateful that I was allowed to ride near the front of the pack and will never forget looking in my mirrors and seeing two rows of riders behind me, mostly Vietnam veterans, stretching as far as the eye could see and hearing the cheers of all of the people lining Pacific Coast Highway waving American flags to show their support.
I will not forget the moving opening ceremonies last Thursday, hearing from so many veterans about how important this moment was to them and being privileged to join my friend Joe Snyder in laying the Gold Star Wreath next to the Wall.
I will not forget the solemn, reverential and strikingly peaceful mood that settled in on Sea Terrace Park this past six days as veterans of all stripes, solitary and in groups, reflected on how the Vietnam era forever changed their lives and the lives of those they love and served with.
I will not forget how many families brought their children to visit the Wall so that they could witness, first hand, the terribly high price we pay for our freedom.
Most importantly, I will never forget, nor will I ever take for granted, the supreme sacrifice made by the 58,259 warriors whose names are forever imprinted on the Wall.
And so the Vietnam Veterans Traveling Wall will leave us and find a home in the next fortunate city on its journey. I, like all of you, will sorely miss its presence here. But I will never forget the six days it graced our town.
God bless all of you, and may God bless the United States of America.