The Wall That Heals, a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial along with a mobile Education Center, is coming to Middletown on September 15-18 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 90 Euclid Ave., Middletown, and will be open 24 hours a day and free to the public. The Wall That Heals 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 58,281 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.
“We are pleased to host this amazing memorial not only on behalf of the veterans of the Vietnam War, but of all those who have served our country. My hope is that this event will be an opportunity of healing and education for everyone in the community,” said Rev. Paul A.M. Denault, O.Carm. Pastor, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish.
“The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is pleased to bring The Wall That Heals mobile exhibit to Middletown to allow local veterans and their family members a chance to experience The Wall,” said Jim Knotts, president and CEO of VVMF. “Hosting The Wall That Heals provides an opportunity to honor and remember all those who served and sacrificed in the Vietnam War and educate visitors on the continuing impact of the Vietnam War on America.”
VVMF will work closely with each community to maintain and exceed health and safety standards as established by the appropriate federal, state and local authorities.
“Nothing is more important to VVMF than the health and well-being of our Vietnam veterans and their families. We will work closely with the host to provide the best visitor experience while keeping the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors at top of mind,” said Knotts.
The Wall That Heals is transported from community to community in a 53-foot trailer. When parked, the trailer opens with exhibits built into its sides, allowing it to serve as a mobile Education Center telling the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the divisive era in American history.
The three-quarter scale Wall replica is 375 feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point. Visitors will experience The Wall rising above them as they walk towards the apex, a key feature of the design of The Wall in D.C. Visitors are able to do name rubbings of individual service members’ names on The Wall.
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 from the local area 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 a historical and cultural context.
The 2022 national The Wall That Heals tour is generously sponsored by USAA. Through a partnership with the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), the trucking industry and Blue Beacon, the exhibit is able to travel across the country. Also, many thanks to lead sponsor Orange and Rockland Utilities.
Since its debut in 1996, the exhibit has been on display in nearly 700 U.S. communities, in addition to an April 1999 tour of the Four Provinces of Ireland and a visit to Canada in 2005. The Wall That Heals is a program of VVMF, the nonprofit organization that built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 1982. The Wall That Heals is the only traveling exhibit affiliated with The Wall in Washington, D.C. and includes the largest Wall replica that travels the country. Two VVMF staff members lead volunteers on site, educate visitors and students and ensure the reflective atmosphere of The Wall. More information can be found at: thewallthatheals.org.