By Robby McKittrick
Hometown Weekly Reporter
In honor of Veterans Day on Sunday, the Moving Wall, a half-sized replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C., stopped outside of Gillette stadium over the weekend.
The replica was available for public viewing beginning on Friday at 1 p.m., and stayed open until November 12 at noon.
“We are really excited about this,” said Patriots community relations worker Brett Sawin. “It’s been a long project we have worked on all throughout the year, and it’s finally great that it’s here and on sight and available for the people of New England to see.
“The Kraft family and the Patriots are always looking to recognize our veterans and active duty military,” explained Sawin. “We learned about this program a while back … and we thought it would be really cool … to bring it here to the stadium, to showcase it, and to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War.”
There were a variety of volunteers at the wall, many of whom were Patriots fans and members of the military.
“I think it’s great that it’s here,” said Randy Allmon, a volunteer and Patriots season-ticket holder since 1981. “I did not even realize that there were this many people who had died in Vietnam … There are too many names on this wall.”
Another volunteer was current Connecticut National Guard member Michael LaFountain. LaFountain explained why he was helping out with the memorial.
“It’s just a good thing to do,” LaFountain explained. “All of these guys fought for our country and died for our country, so it’s something that you feel good about doing.”
One of the main tasks for the volunteers was helping individuals find specific names on the wall.
“We all feel the pain together and feel the joy that they may have had with those people,” LaFountain said.
LaFountain is a Patriots fan, as well, and was happy that the organization decided to show the memorial outside Gillette Stadium.
“I am a Patriot through and [through],” he explained. “It was good to get that email and find out that I can actually come here and do this at Gillette Stadium and be a part of this.”
There were a variety of people who visited Gillette to check out the memorial wall over the weekend. Allmon said that he hopes kids from the schools check it out to learn more about the Vietnam War.
“In my mind, they need to learn about this,” Allmon said. “I think this is one we can’t forget.”
“I have thirty guys on that wall,” said another volunteer who served in the military.
LaFountain explained why Veterans Day is such an important holiday for the country.
“Veterans Day weekend is a memorial weekend to remember our guys that fought for this wonderful country and paid the ultimate sacrifice,” LaFountain said. “It’s just a really big thing for people to know that these guys really did actually pay the ultimate sacrifice because … they laid down their lives.”
Members of Hometown Weekly’s communities whose names appear on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial are listed as follows:
Dover: 1st Lt Robert Alan Doten
Medfield: LCpl Stephen Hinkley, PFC Peter Frank Kristof
Needham: PO2 Robert Louis Bouchet, 2nd Lt Michael Wakefield Downey, Cpl John David Duncan, Cpl James Howard Heppler, Staff Sergeant James Frederick Hiltz, PFC Anthony Joseph Passerello, 1st Lt Alan James Perrault
Sherborn: Staff Sergeant Wilfrid Narciss Bourgeois, LCpl John Michael Nealon
Walpole: PFC Brian Patrick Collins, PFC Richard Kenneth Drake Jr, 2nd Lt Paul Edward Fitzgibbons
Wellesley: LCpl Thomas Bernard Flood, Cpl Dana Stanley Frost, SN David George Ouellet
Westwood: Cpl Douglas William Doig, First Sergeant Clifford Raymond Jones Jr, LCpl John Emidio Pasquantonio