The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a U.S. national memorial in Washington, D.C., honoring service members of the U.S. armed forces who fought in the Vietnam War between 1955 and 1975. Some 58,220 members of the military are considered to have died in the war, including about 40,000 killed in action.
The 2-acre site is dominated by a black granite wall engraved with the names of those service members who died while serving in Vietnam and Southeast Asia during the war.
The wall, completed in 1982, has since been supplemented with The Three Soldiers statue and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.
Realizing that most of the 2.7 million men and women who fought in the war would never be able to come to the nation’s capital to see the wall, on Veterans Day in 1996, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) unveiled a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., designed to travel to communities throughout the U.S. Since its dedication, The Wall That Heals has been displayed in nearly 700 communities throughout the nation, spreading the memorial’s healing legacy to millions.
“Bringing the Wall home to communities throughout our country allows the souls enshrined on the Memorial to exist once more among family and friends in the peace and comfort of familiar surroundings,” said VVMF CEO Jim Knotts.
Knotts added that the traveling exhibit provides thousands of veterans who have been unable to cope with the prospect of facing the Wall to find the strength and courage to do so within their own communities, thus allowing the healing process to begin.
In 2015, Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) members began hauling The Wall That Heals, which features a three-quarter scale replica of the wall in Washington. The replica is 375 feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point.
Like the original memorial, The Wall That Heals is erected in a chevron shape, and visitors can do name rubbings of individual service member’s names on the Wall.
Also similar to the memorial, the names on The Wall That Heals are listed by day of casualty. Beginning at the center/apex, the names start on the East Wall (right-hand side), working their way out to the end of that wing, picking up again at the far end of the West Wall (left-hand side), and working their way back in to the center/apex, joining the beginning and end of the conflict at the center.
To see the traveling exhibit, make plans to attend one of these events near you this year:
- Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania: May 13-16
- Columbus, Ohio: May 28-31
- Franklin, Indiana: June 3-6
- Harrison, Ohio: June 10-13
- Champlain, New York: June 24-27
- Townsend, Massachusetts: July 1-4
- Nahant, Massachusetts: July 15-18
- Tonawanda, New York: July 22-25
- Athens, Ohio: July 29-August 1
- Clinton Township, Michigan: August 5-8
- Riverview, Michigan: August 12-15
- Rice, Minnesota: August 19-22
- Marysville, Kansas: August 26-31
- Brighton, Colorado: September 2-5
- Farmington, New Mexico: September 9-12
- Blackfoot, Idaho: September 16-19
- Longview, Washington: September 23-26
- La Pine, Oregon: September 30-October 3
- Corona, California: October 7-10
- Bullhead City, Arizona: October 21-24
- Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona: October 28-31
- Sulphur Springs, Texas: November 4-7
- Murfreesboro, Tennessee: November 11-14
VVMF will work closely with each community to make certain that community health and safety protocols are met. Communities will have to permit gatherings of 250 or more people. Volunteers will be required to wear masks. Visitors will be encouraged to wear masks and practice social distancing to safeguard the staff, volunteers, and other visitors.
“Nothing is more important to VVMF than the health and well-being of our Vietnam veterans and their families. We will work to provide the best visitor experience while keeping the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors at top of mind,” said Knotts.
To learn more, or to get involved, visit: vvmf.org/The-Wall-That-Heals.