Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall replica to visit

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7234 in Ocean View is inviting the public to visit The Wall That Heals, a large-scale travelling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., and a companion mobile education center, during a special exhibit at the post Oct. 3-6. The post is located at 29265 Marshy Hope Way (two miles north of Fred Hudson Road, at the end of Cedar Neck Road) in Ocean View.

“The Wall in Washington, D.C., was designed as a memorial to the service and sacrifice of each and every one of the more than 58,000 American military service members who died or were declared missing in the Vietnam War, with every individual name etched on the black granite wall panels,” noted Jerry Hardiman.

“Almost as soon as it was dedicated in 1982, the Wall became a site of national and individual healing and reconciliation. And so it has continued for many veterans and the friends and family members of those whose names are listed on the Wall,” he said.

“But the Wall draws in others from far and wide and affects them all. It is now one of the most famous memorials in the United States, visited by more than 3 million people every year. Emotion and attraction aside, the Wall is also widely acclaimed as an architectural work-of-art, ranked tenth on the List of America’s Favorite Architecture, by the American Institute of Architects.

The travelling “Wall That Heals” replica was created by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund organization, founders of the Wall in D.C., to bring the national heritage memorial to communities throughout the United States. It’s an exact ¾-scale replica, 375 feet in length and more than 7 feet high at its tallest point.

Commenting on the scheduled arrival of the memorial in Ocean View and the work and expense involved, VFW Post Commander Dean Levering emphasized that it’s an honor for the post to bring the exhibit to all the people in the area.

The exhibit at the VFW Post will be the centerpiece of a three-day program to honor all those listed on the Wall, surviving spouses and Gold Star families. The post has announced a schedule of program events, to include:

• The Opening Ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 4 p.m.;

• A Candlelight Ceremony on Friday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m.;

• A ceremony honoring service, valor and sacrifice on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 11 a.m.; and

• The Closing Ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 6, at 1 p.m.

The public is welcome to attend all those events. The opening and closing ceremonies are expected to be less than an hour each in length; the candlelight ceremony about one hour; and the Honoring Vietnam Service less than two hours. Visit the post website at www.vfw7234.com/twth for more details.

Because of the expanse of the Wall and information center, parking at the post for the program events is going to be very limited. Representatives advised that there will be free parking available off-site at the G&E hardware store parking lot and the James Farm parking lot, both on Cedar Neck Road in Ocean View. Transportation will be provided from those satellite locations to the post. Handicapped parking will be available at the post.

Except during the program events, there will be ample opportunity for quiet personal visits, Hardiman said. The exhibit will be open 24 hours a day from 4 p.m. on Oct. 3 until 3 p.m. on Oct. 6. Information and assistance will be available for those who want to locate particular names on the Wall panels.

VFW Post 7234 will also take part in an escort convey for The Wall That Heals on Tuesday, Oct. 1, from American Legion Post 2 in Dover to the VFW post in Ocean View. The convey will ride down Route 1 at Dover, starting around 3 p.m., and then through the Milford area around 3:15 p.m., Lewes around 3:39 p.m., Rehoboth around 3:49 p.m., Dewey Beach around 3:54 p.m., the Indian River Inlet around 4:01 p.m., before turning onto Route 26 around 4:11 p.m., then onto Central Avenue and then onto Marshy Hope Way, where the post is located, arriving around 4:21 p.m.

“For all those in our wide-area community who have not visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., and even for those who have, the exhibit at VFW Post 7234 will provide a meaningful opportunity to experience, for the first time or once again, the profound sense of individual service and sacrifice the memorial represents in our nation’s history. It is an opportunity not to be missed,” Hardiman added.