Traveling Vietnam Wall Committee (from left): Barbara Birchim, Angie Aukee, Earl McWilliams, Michelle & Bill Denault, Cheryl Underhill, Lisa Harmon and John Underhill. (Photo courtesy VFW)
Vietnam Traveling Wall in Bishop
It would have been impossible to bring the Vietnam Traveling Wall to Bishop without the help of this wonderful and patriotic community. The American Legion Riders of Post 118 and other community members provided a motorcycle escort from Pearsonville to Bishop. The Owens Valley Contractors Association, the students of Bishop Union High School and many others helped erect the wall.
Donation jars were continually filled all across the valley. Volunteers worked to assist the community in finding fallen heroes, and many restaurants and vendors provided food. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the Bishop DWP electrical and construction crews and the City of Bishop provided vital infrastructural support.
In truth, there were simply too many acts of kindness to detail.
VFW Post 8988 was honored to dedicate the memorial plaque, now located at the base of the POW/MIA flag pole at the Tri-County Fairgrounds, to Captain James Birchim and all POW/MIA comrades. The Post thanks the Mule Days Committee for allowing the dedication to occur during Mule Days, and the Birchim family for their support.
The Post would like to express gratitude to the community members, who took the time to thank those who have served in the armed forces. It was extremely touching for many soldiers, especially for those who served in Viet Nam, to be chased down for a heartfelt THANK YOU from a perfect stranger. It means more than you know.
Thank you to everyone who lined the streets to salute, clap and cheer as the escorted wall progressed up the valley. The patriotism was moving and very appropriate for this national holiday intended to honor our fallen soldiers.
Today the VFW is a public service organization that lobbies Congress for better healthcare and benefits for veterans, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars and millions of hours to community service nationwide.
Earl Mc Williams
Senior Vice Commander
VFW Post 8988, Bishop