Dearborn residents won’t need to make a trip to Washington, D.C., this fall to pay tribute to Vietnam War veterans—instead, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is bringing the memorial to Dearborn.
The Wall That Heals— a traveling half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial—is coming to Dearborn Oct. 25 – 29 for around the clock public viewing on the grounds of the Ford Motor Company World Headquarters.
Phil Smith, chair of the planning committee for the event, explained that to Vietnam veterans like him, the memorial is extremely important.
“This Wall that started in controversy means so much to me,” he said. “Vietnam veterans fought to preserve the names and memories of those we lost.”
More than just a replica, The Wall That Heals exhibit includes a museum that tells the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the divisive era in American history.
“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.”
Since its inception in 1996, more than 2 million people have visited the VVMF’s traveling exhibit.
The decision to bring it to Dearborn was inspired by the city’s commitment to honoring Vietnam veterans.
“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,” explained Dearborn Allied War Veterans Commander Phil Smith. “It will be an emotional four days.”
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.
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.
They may also 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.
Volunteers, Donations Needed
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 will be put to multiple uses, from renting portable bathrooms to printing programs.
Checks should be sent to the Vietnam Veterans of America, James L. Huard Chapter 267, 3001 S. Telegraph Dearborn MI 48124. Write in the memo line “For The Wall."