A trailer containing a Vietnam War memorial that was stolen in Macomb County has been found in Detroit, according to a group of very relieved veterans.
“We’re ecstatic that we’ve got the wall back. … It’s a little Christmas miracle for us,” said Steve Bago, president of Chapter 154 of the Vietnam Veterans of America.
The 16-foot trailer and the Ford F-250 truck that pulled it to cities and towns across Michigan went missing from the chapter’s headquarters in Clinton Township earlier this week.
The memorial is composed of five large panels embossed with the names of the 2,654 Michigan residents who died serving in the Vietnam War. It was created in 2005 in preparation for a military air show at Selfridge Air National Guard Base and then given to Chapter 154.
For the past several years, members have driven the memorial, which is 25 feet long when assembled, to car shows, military tributes and community events. They often meet relatives of the people whose names are on it.
“It’s (an) absolute honor to take this around. … They paid the ultimate sacrifice, and we don’t ever want them to be forgotten,” Mike Schneider, chairman of the Michigan Vietnam Veteran Traveling Memorial and secretary of Chapter 154, said.
Chapter members were heartsick when they realized the truck and trailer were missing. Schneider said he believes it was stolen sometime between Sunday and Monday from outside the chapter’s Veteran’s Support Center on 15 Mile Road in Clinton Township.
The theft was reported to Clinton Township police Wednesday morning, Bago said.
Later that day, Bago got exciting news: The trailer was found on Christmas in Detroit, near Iroquois and East Canfield on the city’s east side, according to police. Officers contacted towing company Wayne’s Service Inc. to pick it up.
Sandra Richard, office manager for Wayne’s Service, noticed a Facebook post about the missing trailer and realized it was probably the same one on her lot. She also wrote about it on Facebook, and through that was able to connect with members of Chapter 154.
Richard is a veteran herself, serving in the Navy from 1982 to 1986.
“To me, that’s sacred ground, the stuff that’s inside there,” she said.
Chapter members retrieved the trailer Thursday.
All that seemed to be missing from it was a microwave, generator and a Marine Corps poster, Schneider said.
The pickup hasn’t been found.
“The important part was in the trailer,” Bago said, “not the truck.”
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