AIKEN, SC (WJBF) – Friday morning at 9:30 a.m., the Aiken County Veterans Council began the process of the relocating the Aiken Vietnam War Memorial that has been in the median along the 300 block of Laurens Street NW for decades.
Surviving Vietnam War Veterans and members of the community gathered this morning near the corner of Laurens Street and Edgefield Avenue to commemorate the memorial’s change of station, a distance of roughly 1.6 miles.
Before the move, those wishing to pay their regards to the memorial and the names of 30 Aiken residents who gave their life during the war in Vietnam had to cross multiple lanes of traffic in one of Aiken’s busiest areas.
By the end of the day, the Vietnam War Memorial’s new home will be at the Aiken County Veterans Memorial Park with the aim of making it more accessible.
Those trying to get the memorial relocated have had to deal with additional red tape due to South Carolina’s Heritage Act, according to the Aiken County Veterans Council.
In April 2021, the Chairman of the Aiken County Veterans Council Lowell Koppert and another veteran walked more than 50 miles from Aiken to the South Carolina State House in Columbia to hand-deliver the petition to move the Vietnam War Memorial.
Aiken County Veterans Affairs Director Dwight Bradham, who’s helped with the process and advocated for the move, was also on hand, as well as Aiken County Veterans Council members and leadership.
There are plans in May for a dedication ceremony to be held at the Vietnam War Memorial’s new home at 1435 Richland Ave. E in commemoration of Memorial Day 2022, according to the Aiken County Veterans Council.