The Wall That Heals coming to Grundy April 23-26
Buchanan County and surrounding area residents will have an opportunity in April to visit The Wall That Heals, a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, when it comes to Grundy in April.
The Wall That Heals will be set up April 23-26 at Poplar Gap Park. The Grundy stop is one of 36 community stops planned for the 25th season of The Wall That Heals. The first stop was in Marco Island, Fla., February 20, 2020. The traveling exhibit, which includes a mobile education center, honors the more than three million Americans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces in the Vietnam War and it bears the names of the 58,276 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.
A total of 375 feet in length, The Wall That Heals stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point. With the replica at this size, visitors are able to experience it rising above them as they walk toward the apex, a key feature of the design of The Wall in D.C.
The Grundy site is sponsored by Riding It Forward, Inc. It was chosen from among 116 applications requesting to host the exhibit in 2020. Additional host locations include one in eastern Virginia and those in Florida, Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, New York, Kansas, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Arkansas, Arizona and California.
“We were thrilled to learn that our application to host The Wall That Heals was among those selected to be a host site,” said Betty Compton, president of Riding It Forward Inc. “It means so much to us to honor our veterans in this way and to be able to share the history of the Vietnam War and the impact of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial with our community.”
“Being able to bring The Wall That Heals to Grundy means a lot to me and being able to share the history of the Vietnam War with our children is important so that they understand the price of freedom that has been paid by our veterans,” said Jim Ray, a member of the board of directors for Riding It Forward Inc., who is also a Vietnam veteran. “Unless we teach our children what it means, they are not going to know about it.”
“The Wall That Heals mobile exhibit replicates The Wall experience in Washington, D.C. and provides veterans and their family members the chance to experience The Wall in their own community,” said Jim Knotts, president and CEO of Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF). “Hosting the exhibit provides the opportunity to honor and remember those who have served and sacrificed and offers an educational experience for visitors on the impact of the Vietnam War on America.”
The Wall That Heals is transported from community to community in a 53-foot trailer. When parked, the trailer becomes a mobile education center with exhibits built into its sides telling the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the divisive era in American history.
The mobile education center exhibit includes: digital photo displays of “Hometown Heroes” – service members whose names are on The Wall that list their home of record within the area of a visit; digital photo displays of Vietnam veterans honored through VVMF’s In Memory program which honors veterans who returned home from Vietnam and later died as a result of their service; video displays that teach about the history and impact of The Wall; educational exhibits told through items representative of those left at The Wall in D.C.; a replica of the In Memory plaque; a map of Vietnam and a chronological overview of the Vietnam War. The exhibits tell the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the era surrounding the conflict, and are designed to put American experiences in Vietnam in an historical and cultural context.
The Wall That Heals will arrive in Grundy on April 21 with a motorcycle escort and will be set up on April 22. It will be open 24 hours a day from April 23 until closing at 2 p.m. on April 26. Trained staff from VVMF will be on site to provide free educational tours of the exhibits. School and youth group tours will be offered and are being coordinated now. Tours may be customized based on ages so visitors can learn about the history of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, hear stories of those who served in Vietnam and learn about the impact of the Vietnam War on America. To schedule a tour, interested persons may contact Jill Lester at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional local sponsorships are being sought. Financial and in-kind donations are needed. Additionally, more than 100 volunteers will be needed to set up and take down the exhibit, staff the exhibit and guide visitors 24 hours a day. To learn more about how to help the effort, interested persons may visit The Wall That Heals – Grundy, Virginia Facebook page, email or call 276-971-1937.
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