The plan to move Aiken’s Vietnam War Memorial gains traction


AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – The push to move the Vietnam War Memorial in the City of Aiken is gaining momentum. From state to local leaders, many are in favor of the change.

“We’re not opposed to this monument. We’re doing this out of respect for this monument because we love this monument. We love the folks it represents,” said Aiken County Veterans Council Chairman Lowell Koppert.

Thirty names are etched into the history of Aiken but soon it could be a change of scenery for the Vietnam War Memorial on Laurens Street.

Koppert said, “Definitely an argument for putting it in a better location that is more accessible. As you can see we had to traverse four lanes of traffic to get out here. There’s no crosswalks. It’s not a very big patch of earth we’re standing on out here.”

Instead Koppert, a former green beret, says the county’s Veterans Memorial Park would be a better spot for the Vietnam War monument. This week county council members unanimously approved a resolution of support.

“There’s plenty of room at the veterans park and its safe, accessible place for people to go so Aiken County has no objection to the monument being moved from Laurens Street,” said Chairman Gary Bunker.

Koppert said, “By county doing the proclamation, it shows our state legislative body the county supports its veterans. The county is on our side. The county wants the same thing the Vietnam veterans of Aiken County want to see as well.”

City leadership also supports the memorial move but Koppert there is some political red tape to cut through regarding the Heritage Act, according to Koppert.

He explained, “We’re not against it by any means. With all that being said, the issue we have is just how long it’s taking.”

Koppert believes actions speak louder than words. Earlier this month, he and a fellow veteran walked more than 50 miles from Aiken to the state capitol in Columbia to hand-deliver a petition to move the Vietnam War Memorial.

He said, “It was a little disheartening that we walked 53 miles with a petition, and folks couldn’t even bother to walk out of the building that they work in to have a discussion. It is what it is.”

A two-thirds vote is needed by South Carolina legislatures to move the Vietnam War Memorial in Aiken.

Continue to stick with NewsChannel 6 for any further developments on the move.

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