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Petaluma hosts traveling replica of Vietnam War memorial

Petaluma Vietnam veteran Dick Sharke hopes a Vietnam War memorial wall can help teach young people about the sacrifices of war and the men and women who gave their lives for their country.

The American Veterans Traveling Tribute traveling wall, a replica of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., arrived Wednesday afternoon and will be on display through the weekend at Petaluma's Lucchesi Park.

The 80-percent-scale, 360-foot replica of the memorial in the capital contains the names the more than 58,000 Americans who died in the war, including about five dozen from Sonoma County.

Sharke, who spent 21 years in the military and also served in the Korean War, said when the Petaluma Historical Museum's exhibit "The Vietnam Experience: A Soldier's Story," was displayed in 2010, he met many children who hadn't learned much about the war in school.

"We want to make this a teaching experience," he said Wednesday. "The kids can come and listen to some of the things the veterans have to say."

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