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Montgomery, state rep honor local veteran : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Montgomery, state rep honor local veteran
Luckinbill led successful effort to bring Moving Wall back to Fox Valley

by John Etheredge

12/19/2013

Local and state officials recently honored Montgomery resident Herschel Luckinbill for his successful effort to bring the Vietnam Moving Wall to West Aurora High School last month.

During a Dec. 9 village board meeting, State Rep. Kay Hatcher, R-Yorkville, presented Luckinbill with a copy of a resolution passed by the General Assembly earlier this month thanking him for "his service to our country" and recognizing "his continued work to recognize the service and sacrifices of Illinois veterans."

Hatcher noted that in arranging to bring the Moving Wall to Aurora Nov. 7 through Nov. 11, Luckinbill managed to bring together not only the local community "but the entire Fox Valley area."

The Moving Wall, a replica of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., is engraved with the names of 58,282 United States servicemen and women who died in the war or are still missing in action.

The Moving Wall had been on display only once before in the Fox Valley area. In 1988 it was displayed near the Prisco Community Center in Aurora.

Referring to Luckinbill, Hatcher said, "He brought closure to some people and a great deal of happiness to a lot of people who were able to go back and a touch a name on the wall of someone who has been lost, but never lost in their memory."

Thousands of area residents visited the Moving Wall while it was on display for fives days on a soccer field at the school.

Hatcher said more than 200 motorcycle riding veterans escorted the wall in a parade to the school. A ceremony was held Nov. 9 at the school to recognize and honor families who lost loved ones in the war. The next day, Nov. 10, a non-denominational healing service was held at the wall, and two Medal of Honor recipients spoke during the ceremonies.

In addition to the Moving Wall, over 2,000 American flags were placed on display on another, nearby athletic field at the school to serve as a "healing field."

Hatcher estimated between 100,000 and 200,000 visited the Moving Wall while it was on display.

Luckinbill, she said, oversaw the effort that involved more than 1,000 volunteers working 45 different shifts to make the displays and the memorial services possible.

Hatcher noted the resolution passed by the General Assembly honoring Luckinbill will go into the state archives where it will be kept in perpetuity.

A Navy veteran, Luckinbill said he was inspired to lead the effort to bring the Moving Wall to Aurora about almost two years ago as he thought again of his two shipmates on the U.S.S. O'Brien who lost their lives when the ship was attacked Dec. 23, 1966, off the coast of North Vietnam.

After making the necessary contacts, Luckinbill said he waited seven long months before he was notified that the Moving Wall would be coming to Aurora on Veterans Day.

Luckinbill credited "the strongest committee ever put together" for their work in planning and staging the display of the wall and the ceremonies.

"I want to thank all the people here in Montgomery and all the residents who came out and volunteered. They helped put the wall together and we raised over $74,000 to make sure the landscaping and everything else was done properly," he said.

Luckinbill said he also wanted to thank the village board and the entire village for their support.




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