Local vets walk 53 miles to raise awareness for Vietnam Veterans Memorial Monument in Aiken

CSRA News

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WJBF) — Former Green Beret Lowell Koppert and former Navy Seal Ray Care took to the streets, making their way to Columbia looking for help in moving a monument. One that has been mired in politics and desperately in need of repair.

Lowell Koppert and Ray Care arrives to Columbia, SC

A trip from Aiken to Columbia is not very far at about 53 miles one way but imagine taking the trip walking.

“We wanted to do this, we wanted to do it safely. That’s why it was just Ray and myself on the road from a large majority of it in areas where there weren’t sidewalks,” Chairman of the Aiken County Veterans Council Lowell Koppert told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk.

The pair took to the streets on foot, made their way to Columbia with the American flag in hand, looking for help in relocating the monument that’s prominently displayed in Aiken.

Credit: Lowell Koppert and Ray Care

“We actually kind of threw it together in a couple of weeks,” Koppert recalled.

The two left the city just before sunrise Wednesday morning with their mission in focus. “To deliver a petition to our House delegation to try to pass that off to the Senate,” he said.

Credit: Lowell Koppert and Ray Care

The two men want to move the monument from downtown to the Aiken County Veterans’ Park so residents and visitors alike can have greater access to it.”It’s a little difficult to get to, and it’s been poorly maintained over the last few years. We currently have electrical tape holding part of it together,” he recalled.

The local city and county councils gave their blessings, but one major hurdle stands in way.

“We’re bringing this to the lawmakers and asking for a vote to be carried out. The Heritage Act calls for a two-thirds vote from each body of our legislature. That’s what we’re asking for,” Koppert shared.

They are looking for the Senate to act. Many within the Aiken Legislative Delegation are on board with what they are trying to accomplish.

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