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‘The Wall That Heals’ makes San Antonio stop Feb. 28-March 3

By Steve Elliott | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | Feb. 13, 2019

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —

The Daughters of the American Revolution’s Alamo Chapter hosts “The Wall That Heals,” a traveling representation of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery Feb. 28 through March 3. The cemetery is located at 1520 Harry Wurzbach Road, near the Wurzbach Entry Control Point at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.

The new “Wall That Heals” exhibit features a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and a mobile education center that gives visitors a better understanding of the legacy of the Wall and educates about the impact of the Vietnam War. A video about the display can be viewed at http://www.vvmf.org/2019-twth-tour#TWTHvideo-lightbox.

The original Vietnam Veterans Memorial stands in Washington, D.C., as a symbol of America's honor and recognition of the men and women who served and sacrificed their lives in the Vietnam War. Inscribed on the black granite walls are the names of more than 58,000 men and women who gave their lives or remain missing. The memorial is dedicated to honor the courage, sacrifice and devotion to duty and country of all who answered the call to serve during one of the most divisive wars in U.S. history.

Bringing “The Wall That Heals” 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, according the wall’s website. The traveling exhibit provides thousands of veterans who have been unable to cope with the prospect of facing the original wall to find the strength and courage to do so within their own communities, thus allowing the healing process to begin.

On Veterans Day 1996, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund unveiled a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., designed to travel to communities throughout the United States. Since its dedication, “The Wall That Heals” has been displayed at nearly 600 communities throughout the nation, spreading the Memorial's healing legacy to millions.

San Antonio is the first stop on a tour which will take “The Wall That Heals” to 34 communities throughout the United States in 2019, ending in Columbia, Mississippi, in November.

The replica is 375 feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point. Visitors experience it rising above them as they walk towards the apex, a key feature of the design of the original wall in Washington, D.C.

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. The replica is constructed of Avonite, a synthetic granite, and its 140 numbered panels are supported by an aluminum frame. Machine engraving of the more than 58,000 names along with modern LED lighting provide readability day and night.

As on the original wall, 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.

The 53-foot trailer that carries “The Wall That Heals” transforms to become a mobile Education Center. The exterior of the trailer features a timeline of "The War and The Wall" and provides additional information about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Additional exhibits give visitors a better understanding of the legacy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the collection of items left at the wall. 

Displays include:

  • Hometown Heroes – Photos of service members on The Wall who list their home of record from the local area. The photos are part of the effort to put a face to every name on The Wall and for the Wall of Faces.
  • Map of Vietnam.
  • In Memory Honor Roll – Photos of local Vietnam veterans honored through VVMF's In Memory program which honors veterans who returned home and later died of Vietnam-related illnesses.
  • A display of items representative of those left at The Wall in Washington, D.C. in remembrance of those on The Wall.
  • Digital kiosk allows visitors to search for names using VVMF's Wall of Faces.
  • Two paper directories allow for names to be found alphabetically.
  • The Gold Star Bike – Donated to VVMF by the American Gold Star Mothers in 2012, the bike is a soft tail custom Harley-Davidson that pays tribute to the mothers who lost sons to the Vietnam War.

Volunteers can sign up for a shift to be a volunteer either during the day or overnight from Feb. 27 to March 3 at https://signup.com/client/invitation2/secure/2632073/false#/invitation.