Welcome to Geneseo, Illinois Vietnam Veteran Traveling Wall - August 8, 2013
Mayor Linda Van Der Leest - Welcome
I want to thank Rhonda Borkgren and Larry Hines for inviting me to be here with you tonight. I would like to express my thanks to Rhonda and her entire staff of volunteers for their work to bring in the Vietnam Veteran Wall to Geneseo.
Some members of our City Council are here with us tonight: veterans and aldermen Bob Wachtel, Carl Freeman, and Doug Crow; aldermen Keith Kennett, Howard Beck, Derek Betcher, Justin Snodgrass and James Roodhouse.
Tonight, each of us on stage will stand behind a lectern built by Korean Veteran Virgil Johnson. Hies resume is decorated with the many things he proudly did for the veterans of our City and our Country - being here tonight would have delighted Virgil. As the president of the Committee to build WWI & Vietnam Veterans Memorials in Geneseo City Park, he allows this community to continue to honor our veterans of war. I believe as I speak from this lectern and cast a glance to the Wall, I can hear Virgil saying "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans - Welcome Home."
This morning, when I read the quote by Vietnam Veteran Jim Parker, "46 years later and I finally go a parade," I was moved to tears. I am honored to welcome each one of you to Geneseo; veterans, residents and guests alike. We are blessed to be able to pause to recognize not only every name written on the Wall, but every veteran of our great country and we gratefully thank every man and woman still in active duty.
The Wall stands, a testament etched in granite and stone to pay honor and remember those brave heroes of days gone by. It is not there merely as a stop on a bus tour, but to assure that this brethren will not be forgotten. Its ebony face is covered in glass in order to protect the names of the fallen and to reflect the haunting images of the brave men and women who wore a badge of courage and the uniform of their branch. We should, each of us, offer a prayer of thanks that they were standing firm and true on many a wall, so that we could sleep safely in the shelter of our homes and our beds. Rest well with the angels, for we will never forget the sacrifices you endured for our freedoms.
John 15:13 says it best "Greater love has no one than this. That one lay down his life for his friends."
We are so grateful for the men and women of this great country who have laid down their lives for our freedom. Welcome home veterans - Welcome home. May God bless you, your families, Geneseo, the United States of America and may we each Bless God!
Luminaries line the base of the Traveling Vietnam Wall at the conclusion of its first full day in Geneseo on Aug 8. The Wall was set up on Pearl Street near the Geneseo City Park through Aug. 11. (Photo courtesy of the Geneseo Republic.)
Panoramic view of the Traveling Vietnam Wall. (Photo courtesy of the Geneseo Republic.)
The Don Cherry VFW Post 5083 and Women's Auxiliary of Geneseo, IL and the City of Geneseo welcomed the Vietnam Veteran Traveling Wall to Geneseo August 7-11.
Record crowds, including many Vietnam Veterans, attended the opening ceremonies.
Mayor Linda Van Der Leest welcomes home Vietnam Veterans.
The Geneseo Fire Department displays the Flag while the Vietnam Veteran Traveling Wall was in Geneseo.
Opening Ceremonies - Vietnam Veterans Traveling Wall - Geneseo City Park - August 8, 2013.
Over 175 members of the Honor Guard escorted the Vietnam Veteran Traveling Wall to Geneseo on August 7, 2013. (Photo courtesy of Molly Condon.)
Vietnam Veterans salute as a Gold Star Family Wreath and POW/MIA Wreath are laid at the Traveling Vietnam Wall on Aug. 9. Glenda Verdick, left, represented the Fold Star Families. Her younger brother, John Fordham, was killed in Vietnam. Loretta Chavez, right, presented the POW/MIA wreath. Her husband, Ramon, was a prisoner of war during World War II. (Photo courtesy of the Geneseo Republic.)
Rhonda Borkgren and Mayor Linda Van Der Leest with the bench donated to the City to memorialize the Wall being in Geneseo. (Photo courtesy of the Geneseo Republic.)
Pictures of people looking at the Traveling Vietnam Wall. (Photo courtesy of the Geneseo Republic.)
RAGBRAI bound Tourist visit Geneseo - July 19, 2013
Geneseo Mayor welcomes RAGBRAI tourists to visit Geneseo. They thanked our "very friendly staff" and said they thoroughly enjoyed their adventure and it all began in Geneseo, Illinois.
In the photo left to right: Hollie Fortney, Lois Spencer, Doug Spencer, Mayor Van Der Leest, Jared Fortney, Mary Beth Gilts, Mike Fortney, Pat Cunningham, Lynn McClain, and Rick Gilts. The Fortney's are from Maumee, Ohio. Mike Fortney is a retired Police Lieutenant of Maumee PD. The Spencer's and Gilts' are from Perrysburg, Ohio. Doug is a retired Police Lieutenant and Rick a retired Chief of Perrysburg PD. Lynn is a school teacher. Pat is Chief of Campus Security for Colorado Springs University in Colorado.
Thanks!!! The "Maumee 6" (our RAGBRAI team name)
City of Geneseo | 115 South Oakwood Avenue, Geneseo, IL
61254 | (309) 944-6419