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Visit To War Memorial Was Last Item On Bucket List

Sandy Beyer visited the memorial stone at Railroad Park to identify the five men listed as local casualties during the Vietnam War. She was able to locate their names on “The Moving Wall,” a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial during a recent trip to Savannah, Tenn. –Photo by Lucia Holloway

By Lucia Holloway

Herald Contributor


WATER VALLEY – One of Sandy Beyer’s travel goals was to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, dedicated in Washington, D.C. in 1982. As years passed and her health deteriorated, she knew travel there was not possible. When daughter, Pam Fant of Savannah, Tenn., invited her mother and sister, Vicki, to attend a Daughters of the American Revolution Ceremony of “The Moving Wall,” a half-size replica (253 feet) of the Washington Memorial that has been touring the country for over 30 years, they went to Savannah on Sept. 7.

Sandy’s next plan was to locate names of Water Vallians who lost their lives in the war, make rubbings of their names as they appear on the wall, and give them to remaining family members here.  Contacting numerous local people to secure names was a task, as well as finding their families. Joe Black directed her to the memorial stone in Railroad Park for five names: Joe L. Avant, William E. Bland, Everett Cofer, Hershel P. Helm, Jr. and Eugene Wilson. Next she had to locate the Water Valley names among the 58,272 listed on the wall in order to make the rubbings.

Her next roadblock: no one knew the remaining families. 

“My only solution is to leave the rubbings of the local five at the Herald office,” she said. “Perhaps someone who reads the article will know a family  member who could pick up the data at the newspaper,” Beyer said. 

Regarding the ceremony in Savannah, she said, “It was a very emotional and exhilarating experience to touch the wall. Also I was able to cross off the last item on my bucket list.”

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