It has been more than 45 years since the end of the Vietnam War. While most of it happened before I was born, I know there are a variety of emotions that exist when the topic of comes up. Nonetheless, as a Nation the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC is a way to commemorate the lives lost since it was dedicated in 1982.
Not everyone has the ability to travel to see the Vietnam Memorial. So, since 1996 a replica entitled "The Wall That Heals" has been traveling America. The purpose of the traveling exhibit is to honor, preserve, and educate individuals about the Vietnam War and its veterans.
When the exhibit enters into a community, it offers a unique opportunity to bring a piece of history and remembrance, along with healing. Meridian will join the more than 700 communities who have hosted this mobile exhibit over the last 25 years when it will be on display at Scentsy Commons from June 29 to July 2.
The traveling exhibit provides a safe space for veterans to take the first step in the healing process in their own communities. It also provides a way to reunite family and friends in the peace and comfort of familiar surroundings, respecting all those who lost their lives during Vietnam. Further, it gives thousands of veterans the opportunity to visit the Memorial in our local setting.
The Wall That Heals consists of two main components, The Wall replica, and the mobile Education Center. The trailer's exterior has a timeline of "The War and The Wall," providing visitors with additional information about the Memorial and its significance. The Education Center also features exhibits that provide a better understanding of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the collections of items left at the Memorial.
The 140 panels of The Wall that Heals contains engravings of more than 58,000 names along with modern LED lighting providing readability, day and night. The replica is 375 feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high at its highest point, creating a similar effect as the Memorial in DC. The names on The Wall That Heals are listed by day of casualty, starting at the center and working their way out to the end of that wing, before picking up again on the west end and working back to the center/apex, joining the beginning and end of the conflict at the center.
The Wall That Heals is a remarkable tribute and I encourage the community to take the time to come experience. There will be an opening ceremony on Thursday, June 29 at 9 am and a candlelight vigil on Friday, June 30 at 9:30 pm for residents to join. You can find more information about the schedule and the exhibit here.
I want to say thank you to Idaho Division of Veterans Services, Keystone Hospice, Scentsy and Blue Cross of Idaho for bringing this memorial to Meridian. We are fortunate to live in a community where so many care and are invested in our veterans and The Wall That Heals, as we remember those who gave their lives for our country.