LUBBOCK, Texas — The American Veterans Traveling Tribute’s (AVTT) Vietnam Wall arrived at Memorial Circle on Texas Tech University’s (TTU) campus Wednesday afternoon.

There was a three-volley salute during the opening ceremony Wednesday, and there will be one more during the closing ceremony at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 25. The salute is a key part of the ceremony as it recognizes those who lost their lives in service.

The AVTT’s mission is to travel the country to educate, honor, respect and remember the brave men and women who served.

Since the wall is mobile, anyone can honor the nation’s heroes without having to travel far. 

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. is the most-visited memorial on the National Mall.

Vietnam combat veteran and TTU professor, Dr. Ron Milam, said building the memorial in the district was very controversial in the 1980s.

“An active anti-war movement, a draft that often allowed the rich and the famous to avoid service, and an enemy with strong support from its communist allies, China and the Soviet Union, made the very idea of a memorial to those who died doing what their country asked them to do, almost impossible,” Milam said.

Milam said he hated everything about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Then he traveled to the district in 1983 and talked himself into visiting the site.

“I thought how wrong I had been not to appreciate the beauty of this place that honors those who had fallen in the most personal way, with their names etched in granite, along with all of the others who did what their country asked them to do,” Milam said.

Every time he travels to the district, TTU president Dr. Lawrence Schovanec visits the memorial. 

“No matter how many times you stand up for the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, the impact of that experience is never lessened,” Schovanec said.

That’s why an 80% scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in the district arriving on the TTU campus is so special.

“It’s so appropriate that now this tribute would be on our campus to give us that opportunity to honor those as they are honored in Washington, D.C.,” Schovanec said.

District 4 Councilman, Steve Massengale, is proud to have the exhibit in Lubbock where many veterans call home.

“The Lubbock community is honored to have the American Veterans Traveling Tribute on display to recognize and remember the men and women who have sacrificed so much, and to remind us that freedom is not free,” Massengale said.

AVTT’s traveling wall is the largest mobile wall replica in the country, and it even has every name etched on it just like the original. 

“Here we are today, 40 years after the initial dedication in 1982, with the opportunity to see those names, to touch those names, and reflect on service.”

The traveling tribute will be on display on TTU’s campus through this Sunday, Sept. 25. It’s free and open to the public. The university said free campus parking is not available, but you can park at First Baptist Church (University Ave. and Broadway) for free, except on Sunday during worship service times. If you choose to park at the church, put a sign on your windshield that states “Visiting the AVTT.” On Sunday, visitors may park on the TTU campus.