MONTROSE — The Moving Wall stands as a silent tribute to those who fell in Vietnam. But it doesn't stand alone; several local and regional organizations came together to provide round-the-clock security for the memorial.
"That's our brothers on the Wall. We all know somebody that's on the Wall," Tom "Speedy" Garcia said. "We just took it upon ourselves. We call it 'our Wall' and we protect our brothers."
Garcia is a member of the Vietnam Vet/Legacy Motorcycle Club. In 1967 and 1968, though, we was an Army Specialist (later promoted to E5, or buck sergeant) in the First Cavalry Division, serving in Vietnam.
He and his motorcycle club members signed up for rotating shifts, to make sure the Moving Wall had coverage 24 hours a day during its stay in Montrose.
"We're going to keep it secure," he said.
Each member of each organization that volunteered sign on for shifts that last three hours. Garcia plans on being at the Wall for the duration of its visit and was given permission to park an RV that doubles as a security office.
Other organizations providing security were: American Legion Post 73, Black Canyon Car Club, Black Canyon Chapter of H.O.G., Disabled American Veterans Post 17, the Montrose County Sheriff's Posse, the Patriot Guard Riders, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 784 and Western Slope 4 Wheelers.
Several of the organizations and others, as well as the Montrose Police Department, also provided an escort for the Moving Wall as it was taken from the Holiday Inn Express Thursday morning to its display destination in Cerise Park.
Art Edwards, an assistant state captain for the Patriot Guard Riders out of Grand Junction, said his group was covering six or seven of the security watches.
The Patriot Guard had considered bringing the Moving Wall to Junction in September, but members decided to throw all their support behind Montrose, once they learned it would be hosting the memorial.
"Most of the Patriot Guard are prior military," Edwards said. "It's just kind of the reason behind the Wall, and the reason Montrose brought it to the area, was so people could see what a lot of people don't get to go to Washington to see — how those 58,000 people didn't get to come home."
Edwards served in the Navy during Vietnam, on three different ships that qualified for Vietnam service.
"If somebody hasn't been to the Wall, it's very humbling," he said.
Garcia was grateful to everyone who helped bring the Moving Wall to Montrose.
"It's amazing how this community just stepped forward and took on the project," he said.
"We asked for help and they were there."
The Moving Wall departs Montrose the afternoon of May 18. Its next stop is in Utah.