BONITA SPRINGS, Fla.-An opening ceremony was held Thursday for a mobile Vietnam memorial replica at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs.
The traveling wall was constructed by volunteers Thursday morning and will be on display until Sunday, December 4th at 12:00 P.M.
The replica is built to 80-percent scale. It's 370'x8.5' and is made out of the same black granite used for the Vietnam monument in Washington, DC. It also has the same 58,195 names of fallen U.S. troops etched onto it.
"It's overwhelming actually to see all these names. It's so hard to believe what those young people went through during that time," said visitor Lynn Campbell.
The wall was escorted to Riverside Park by motorcade from Gulf Coast Town Center to the park on Wednesday.
Air Force veteran Mike Marx was among the more than 50 bikers.
"When they came back. They were treated so differently than troops that come back today. They were neglected. Enough wasn't done for them," said Marx.
Many Vietnam veterans were overcome with emotion Thursday afternoon when they saw the names for the first time.
"It's hard to put into words.I've got a lot of friends. A lot of friends on that wall. I've always asked why I came back. God had another purpose for me I guess," said Larry Gebhart.
There will be a small ceremony Sunday at 9:00 AM at Riverside Park.
Plans were also announced today for a permanent memorial at the park, honoring the men and women of all branches of the U.S. armed forces, regardless of when they served.
Work is expected to be complete by Veterans Day of 2012.