GREENFIELD, Ind. — A special wall to remember those killed in the Vietnam War is open to the public in Greenfield. It’s called The Wall That Heals. It’s a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.
Organizers say the wall is meant to be a way for Vietnam veterans to find strength and healing. Also, many aren’t able to make it to D.C. to see the full-sized wall, or it’s just too painful for them to visit. This traveling wall is a way for them to pay their respects without traveling so far.
“This is a chance for people to have that opportunity to close that feeling and see that name and accompany it to the wall,” said Greenfield Mayor Chuck Fewell. “They may have seen it before, they may not have. And it’s not just for family members like that, but a lot of other people who were maybe there or surrounding counties who may have heard a lot of things about this and have the opportunity to see something for real.”
More than 58,000 names are inscribed on the Wall the Heals, the same 58,000+ that are on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Of those thousands, 11 are servicemen from Hancock County.
“You put a wall, and you put a name with the thing you’ve heard about," said Fewell. "To me it’s important for me to have that type of attitude brought here so we have that type of closure.”
Fewell is a Marine Corps veteran. He didn't serve in Vietnam, but he knows many in his community have and many families have relatives on the wall. According to Indiana data, 35% of veterans who live in Indiana served during Vietnam. Fewell says that fact makes it's even more important that the wall is in Greenfield.
“You know the reason I’m sitting in this chair being mayor is the names on that wall keep us free," he said. "And not just the people on that wall, the other servicemen too. They were a big participant in that whole opportunity, and so they gave just as much as the others but they didn’t make the ultimate sacrifice. It give them the chance to have that opportunity to think that we care.”
The Wall that Heals also features an education center with items that were left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in D.C.
The exhibit will be in Greenfield, behind the Stillinger Family Funeral Home (1780 W. Main St.) until 2 p.m. Sunday, July 14th. It will be open 24 hours a day.
A special dedication ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 13 at 11 a.m. at the wall. Greenfield Mayor Chuck Fewell and Congressman Jim Baird will be speaking at the ceremony.