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The overall mission statement of this blog is to share many unique topics of this blogger's interest. Topics include (but are not limited to): Travel & Photojournalism, Nature & Wildlife Preservation, Americana, Local Places Of Interest, Southern Cultural Heritage, Local History of the South Carolina Upstate, Confederate Heritage Preservation & Awareness, Science & Science Fiction, Astronomy & Night Sky Photography, Literacy & Writing, Southern Cuisine, Popular Culture & Philosophy, Fandom, Local Folklore ....as well as various other topics explained from the blogger's point of view. The following website contains the UNCENSORED thoughts and opinions of a Southern-born country writer from upstate South Carolina - the living, beating heart of the great American Southland!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Visiting The Wall That Heals

The Wall That Heals replica at a ball-field in Camden,
South Carolina on Friday, May 4, 2018.

Happy Armed Services Day, Y'all!

Today is probably the most appropriate day to tell y'all about one of my recent travels, which took me once again to historic Camden, South Carolina to visit The Wall That Heals Mobile Education Center, a traveling exhibit sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF), a nonprofit organization that founded the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. 

The Wall That Heals is a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. The replica is 375 feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point. The replica is constructed of synthetic granite and has 140 numbered panels supported by an aluminum frame. On these panels are the names of the 58,000+ US servicemen who died during the 11 years of the Vietnam War

Since it was unveiled on US Veterans Day (November 11th) in 1996, this exhibit has traveled across the United States to over 600 cities, bringing The Wall The Heals home to communities throughout our country. The traveling exhibit provides thousands of veterans and the families of those lost in the war who have been unable to cope with the prospect of facing The Wall to find the strength and courage to do so within their own communities and familiar surroundings, thus allowing the healing process to begin.

The 53-foot trailer that carries The Wall That Heals across the country converts to become the 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, displaying photos, history, memorabilia and the collection of items left at The Wall.

Displays at the Education Center 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 during the conflict. 
  
In Memory Honor Roll -- Photos of local Vietnam veterans honored through the VVMF's In Memory program which honors veterans who returned home and later died of Vietnam-related illnesses related to Agent Orange. 

A display of items representative of those left at The Wall in Washington, D.C. in remembrance of those on The Wall. 

A Digital kiosk which allows visitors to search for names using VVMF's Wall of Faces -- which feature tens of thousands of photos.

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 Softail Custom Harley Davidson that pays tribute to the mothers who lost sons to the Vietnam War.

The VVMF works with local veterans and community groups to ensure that this exhibit provides the best possible experience for all who visit. 

When I visited the site, I was amazed at the details and the exhibits featured. Photos of local veterans who served in the Vietnam War were set up near The Wall itself, along with several other exhibits that included vehicles used during the conflict. 

I also walked along the wall, seeing gifts left at the base by family and fellow veterans, and I admit folks it hit me hard looking at those individual names and seeing the flags, flowers and at least one Bronze Star left at the site. 

The visit was a moving and educational experience. My thanks to the dedicated folks of the VVMF who take the time to put on this display and bring it to the local communities. May God bless y'all and the men and women whose memories you honor.

A Bronze Star Medal left at The Wall.

In Honored Memory of those US Servicemen, Servicewomen, and Military Service Dogs who died fell in service to their country in the Vietnam Conflict (1964 - 1975).

You Will NEVER Be Forgotten!