‘The Wall That Heals’ coming to Dearborn

Photo courtesy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund
“The Wall That Heals,” the traveling half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will come to Dearborn Oct. 25 to 29 for around-the-clock public viewing.

Volunteers, sponsors needed for Vietnam veterans tribute

DEARBORN – “The Wall That Heals,” the traveling half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will come to Dearborn Oct. 25 to 29 for around-the-clock public viewing.

For 30 years, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial has been an iconic image of the Vietnam War, serving as a revered space to remember, honor and heal. It is known to many as simply “The Wall.”

Organizers of the free Dearborn event, including the Dearborn Allied War Veterans Council, are asking for help to provide this tribute, which will be installed on the grounds of Ford Motor World Headquarters.

Volunteers are needed to help family and visitors locate names on the replica memorial, read the names of Michigan’s fallen throughout the four days of viewing, and document and preserve the mementos that will be left.

Money raised — through public donations — will be put to multiple uses, from renting portable bathrooms to printing programs.

Checks should be sent to: Vietnam Veterans of America, James L. Huard Chapter 267, 3001 S. Telegraph, Dearborn, MI, 48124. Write in the memo line “For The Wall.”

To volunteer to assist onsite, contact Lisa Lark at 313-410-8477 or lisalark@vvmf.org. Volunteers also can sign up online by clicking on the volunteer tab at www.vvmf.org/dearbornmi

Phil Smith, a Vietnam veteran and chairman of the planning committee, thanked the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and founder Jan Scruggs for bringing “The Wall That Heals” to Dearborn.

“This Wall that started in controversy means so much to me,” Smith said. “Vietnam veterans fought to preserve the names and memories of those we lost. Now it is the most known and most visited monument in Washington, D.C.”

Details for visitors to site
“The Wall That Heals” event in Dearborn is free and open to the public 24 hours a day following a 10 a.m. opening ceremony on Oct. 25 and continuing until 8 a.m. on Oct. 29.

The names on “The Wall That Heals” replicate the names on The Wall in Washington, D.C., and are listed alphabetically by day of casualty. Accompanying “The Wall That Heals” is a museum that tells the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the divisive era in American history.

The traveling wall is not conducive to rubbing or stenciling names, but at the onsite information booth, people may request a name rubbing be sent to them.

People also may bring photographs of loved ones whose names appear on The Wall. They will be scanned and preserved by the VVMF.

In addition, mementos left in Dearborn will be delivered to the VVMF.

About the half-scale replica
“‘The Wall That Heals’ transcends the Vietnam War to help our great nation renew its relationship with veterans of all wars,” said Scruggs, president of the VVMF. “It helps veterans from all of America’s conflicts to find healing and a powerful connection through their common military experiences,” he said.

Since its inception in 1996, more than 2 million people have visited the VVMF’s traveling exhibit.

VVMF and The Wall
Established in 1979, the VVMF is the nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The names of more than 58,000 men and women who gave their lives during the years of conflict in Vietnam are etched into the black granite. The monument honors the more than 3 million Americans who served with the U.S. Armed Forces in the Vietnam War.

Today, through a series of outreach programs, the organization works to preserve the legacy of The Wall, to promote healing and to educate about the impact of the Vietnam War.

Connection to Dearborn
“The VVMF is bringing ‘The Wall That Heals’ to Dearborn to thank us for our continued focus on Vietnam veterans,” said Smith, who is also the incoming commander of the DAWVC.

“That includes Dearborn’s 2011 Memorial Day Parade tribute and efforts by Edsel Ford High School teacher Lisa Lark to put a face and life story to the names of Dearborn’s fallen. It will be an emotional four days.”

“The Wall That Heals” is sponsored by the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Trust, Federal Express, Geico, AON Corporation and New Century Transportation.

Local sponsors and organizers to date include the city of Dearborn, DAWVC, Vietnam Veterans of American Chapter 267, the Michigan Military Moms, the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce and the Ford Veterans Network Group.