Pittsburg State University - Pittsburg, Kansas
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News @ PSU

News and information from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

PSU wages battle with nature to care for memorial

Workers at Pittsburg State University replaced more of the faded panels in the replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall this summer, but the power of the elements means there is still more to do. The wall, an important element in the Veterans Memorial at PSU, is a half-sized replica of the famous memorial in Washington, D.C. Instead of granite, PSU wall’s panels are made of metal and are painted, which makes them vulnerable to the effects of the weather.

The PSU wall was originally one of the Moving Walls created by John Devitt, a veteran who wanted to find a way to take the experience of visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to people across the U.S. who might not be able to make the trip to Washington. When the PSU Veterans Memorial was planned, Devitt offered to retire one of his moving walls to occupy a place of honor in the new memorial.

The intense Kansas sun and seasons of all kinds of weather have taken their toll since the wall’s installation in 2004 and the university has embarked on a plan to replace all of the faded or worn panels.

Devitt is the only manufacturer of the panels and the university is working with him to replace them as quickly as possible, according to university officials. The replacement plan is complicated by the fact that Devitt maintains a busy schedule touring with the Moving Wall and is available to produce replacement panels only in the winter.

PSU officials are working with Devitt to try to make the panels more resistant to the weather over time. A new formula for a polyurethane coating may help.

“Thousands of people visit the memorial each year,” said Brad Hodson, vice president for university advancement. “The Wall is an important element in the memorial and we want to make sure it is well cared for.”

In photo: Darrell Barr, left, and Dale Herlocker, carpenters at PSU, remove one of the faded panels from the Vietnam Wall in the Veterans Memorial.

---Pitt State