Although millions of visitors experience the healing power of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., every year, millions more have not had the opportunity. Many do not have the resources to make the journey to the nation's capital, while others may find the war's legacy easier to confront within their own communities.
From April 26 to 29, 2012, a national touring exhibition called The Wall That Heals – a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. – will visit the EKU Center for the Arts on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond. This exhibit was created by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) to travel to communities across the United States.
"The Wall That Heals transcends the Vietnam War to help our great nation renew its relationship with veterans of all wars," said Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. "It helps all veterans from all of America's conflicts find healing and a powerful connection through their common military experiences." Mr. Scruggs will be present for the opening ceremony on April 26 at 10:30 a.m. at the EKU Center for the Arts. Details of the ceremony to be announced.
The 250-foot replica will be installed on the south lawn of the EKU Center's lake level and, along with the Mobile Museum and Information Center, will be open for public viewing 24 hours a day and at no charge. The Wall will be escorted into Richmond on April 25 by multiple law enforcement agencies and motorcycles. The escort will depart from Man O' War Harley Davidson at 12 p.m. A caisson will join the escort in Richmond as it parades down Main Street to the bypass and then to the EKU Center for the Arts.
The exhibition is accompanied by a Mobile Museum that tells the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall, and the Era. A computerized Information Center allows visitors to learn about those men and women named on the Memorial.
The Information Center will be equipped with a scanner so that friends and loved ones can bring photos of soldiers on The Wall so that they will be remembered in the new Education Center at the Memorial in Washington. The Education Center will be under construction in the near future. To learn more about the photo project, visit vvmf.org/pafwan.
"I think it is very fitting that this memorial come to our campus given Eastern Kentucky University's long tradition of support of the military and our veterans," said Dr. Doug Whitlock, president of Eastern Kentucky University. "Some of the names on this wall are graduates of this institution. I knew each of them, and really look forward to the opportunity to honor their memories."
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial honors the more than 3 million Americans who served with the US Armed Forces in the Vietnam War. It is the most visited memorial in Washington, D.C., with over 4 million visitors each year. Their black granite walls bear the names of more than 58,000 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam. 1,359 of the names are Kentucky soldiers.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is the nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Today, through a series of outreach programs, the organization works to preserve the legacy of The Wall to promote healing and to education about the impact of the Vietnam War. The organization is building the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center, an underground educational facility, near The Wall. Visit buildthecenter.org for more information.
The Center is seeking volunteers to serve as greeters and in other support roles while The Wall is at the Center. Visit va.eku.edu/wall-volunteers to sign up.
For more information about the exhibit and to view Gov. Steve Beshear's video message about The Wall, visit EKUCenter.com/wall.