“The Wall That Heals” Comes to Florence
Scale model will be set up at Florence Middle School April 4-7, 2019
Known as The Wall That Heals, a fully-detailed three-quarters-sized replica of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be in Florence from April 4 to 7.
The exhibit will be escorted into town on Highway 101 from The Mill Casino in Coos Bay and over the Siuslaw River Bridge by vets groups and motorcycle clubs. Florence is the only Oregon stop for the nationally-touring replica. The event could bring 8,000 to 10,000 people to Florence.
The exhibit includes the 375 foot-long, 7.5 foot-tall chevron-shaped replica and its mobile education center which includes photos of service members who list their home of record from the local area. There are also photos of local Vietnam veterans honored through Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s (VVMF) “In Memory” program which honors veterans who returned home and later died of Vietnam-related illnesses, as well as a map of Vietnam and a digital kiosk that allows visitors to search for names using VVMF’s Wall of Faces.
The wall’s appearance is sponsored by Spruce Point Assisted Living and Memory Care of Florence.
The VVMF’s mission is to honor and preserve the legacy of service and educate all generations about the impact of the Vietnam War. Since its dedication in 1996, The Wall That Heals has been displayed at nearly 600 communities throughout the nation, spreading the Memorial’s healing legacy to millions.
According to the VVMF’s website, “Visiting The Wall means different things to different people — but for all visitors, they are touched by what they see. Just the sheer volume of names, more than 58,000 inscribed on The Wall, causes you to think about the fact that every one of those deaths changed a family forever; that all of those lives were cut short; and all of the ‘what ifs’ that you think about.”
Bringing The Wall That Heals to communities throughout the country allows the memory of the individuals enshrined on the Memorial to exist once more among family and friends in the peace and comfort of familiar surroundings. The traveling exhibit provides thousands of veterans who have been unable to cope with the prospect of facing the original Vietnam War Memorial in D.C. to find the strength and courage to do so within their own communities, thus allowing the healing process to begin.
History of the Wall and its War
By the end of 1969, there were more than 500,000 troops stationed in Vietnam — and by the time the war ended on April 30, 1975, more than 2,709,918 Americans had served there, with 58,220 war-related casualties and more than 300,000 service personnel wounded.
With all of its news coverage, protests, and American casualties, the war—and the necessary healing that followed—led to the creation of one of the most iconic memorials in Washington, D.C.: the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall.
The full-sized wall in Washington, D.C., was designed by Maya Ying Lin, who was a 21-year-old undergraduate at Yale University at the time she entered the national competition held to select the design of the memorial. The structure Lin designed is made up of two 246-foot-long black granite walls that are scaled from 10 feet tall at the center to 8 inches at the extremes. Each wall has 70 panels that list names and two panels that remain blank. The Vietnam Memorial wall in D.C. is in a two-acre park and is visited by about 5 million people each year.
Those interested in contributing financially to offset the $10,000-plus cost of bringing the exhibit to Florence, and for the operational costs of the four-day event, can make a donation to the account set up at Banner Bank. For more information, contact local organizer Kim Pruitt at 541-997-6111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.