"Wall" events announced

Friday, August 22, 2008

Organizers are finalizing the schedule for the moving Vietnam Wall, also known as the "Wall That Heals." The memorial will be coming to Marked Tree Thursday, Sept. 25 and remain in the town until Sunday, Sept. 28.

The exhibit will be open to the public 24 hours a day beginning that Thursday with volunteers available to assist daily from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. There will be security volunteers available during the other hours.

The Wall is being brought to Marked Tree through a group of volunteers led by Danny and Barbara Adams. It features the names of 13 Poinsett County men who died in the Vietnam war. They are Teddy Gene Talley of Marked Tree, John Henry Stout of Lepanto, David Harold Johnson of Trumann, Hugh Don Scott of Lepanto, James Erlan "Jackie" Teague of Harrisburg, Bobby Gene Hastings of Trumann, Terry Wanye Birmingham of Trumann, James Carl Payne of Marked Tree, William A. Clifton of Harrisburg, Jerry Allen Truelove of Lepanto, Jerry Don Harsson of Marked Tree, Bobby Joe Yewll of Marked Tree and Aaron Vinson of Trumann.

"The Wall will be a sight to behold," said Barbara Adams," It will have a motorcycle and police escort from I-55 right to Cypress Park in Marked Tree. We plan to line the streets to welcome The Wall and the Poinsett Thirteen home."

Several events are being scheduled while The Wall is in Marked Tree. An opening ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 25. Local veterans will be honored, and special tribute will be paid to Poinsett County Vietnam Veterans whose names are listed on The Wall.

The ceremony will also include the laying of a wreath, a 21 gun salute and a rendition of the song "Taps."

Friday will feature several activities including the arrival of members of the Charlie and Echo Companies, two units that were deployed to Vietnam. The group is holding a reunion in Memphis and is coming to Marked Tree to visit The Wall.

Organizers are planning a special "welcome home" celebration for the men of the companies who were never given a true hero's welcome when they returned from the war. The veterans will hold a candlelight vigil of their own at 7 p.m.

Saturday's events at The Wall will begin at 9 a.m. with a memorial ceremony with featured speakers including State Representative Buddy Lovell, Brig. Gen Richard Swan and 1SG Nick Bacon.

The ceremony will also honor Gold Star mothers and the names of Poinsett County veterans who are listed on The Wall will be read as well.

The memorial service will conclude with a 21 gun salute and the playing of "Taps."

A farewell candlelight vigil will be held at 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 28.

"We want to encourage everyone to come out and be a part of this life changing experience," said Danny Adams. "You won't walk away from The Wall the same person."

Adams is asking all of the surrounding area to become a part of this time of healing by contacting him if they have family members or friends listed on The Wall. Also, he plans to honor all veterans from the area, living and deceased, so please send those names and hometown along with any other information to be mentioned.

Danny can be reached at 870-593-2326. His mailing address is P.O. Box 302, Marked Tree,AR 72365.

About the Wall

On Veterans Day 1996, The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund unveiled a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., designed to travel to communities throughout the United States.

Bringing The Wall home to communities throughout the country allows the souls enshrined on the Memorial to exist, once more, among family and friends in the peace and comfort of familiar surroundings. The traveling exhibit, also known as "The Wall that Heals," allows the many thousands of veterans 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, thus allowing the healing process to begin.

The Wall that Heals also features a traveling museum and information center providing a comprehensive educational component to enrich and complete visitor's experiences. The museum chronicles the Vietnam War era and the unique healing power of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, while the information center serves as a venue for people to learn about friends and loved ones lost in the war.

Since its dedication, The Wall that Heals has visited nearly 250 cities and towns throughout the nation, spreading the Memorial's healing legacy to millions. In addition to its U.S. tour stops, the exhibition made its first-ever international journey in April 1999 to the Four Provinces of Ireland to honor the Irish-born casualties of the Vietnam War and the Irish-Americans who served.

Like the original Wall, the replica is erected in a chevron-shape and complete with the more than 58,000 names of those killed or missing in action from the conflict. When new names are added to the Memorial in Washington, D.C., The Wall that Heals is updated as soon as possible.

As on The Wall in Washington, D.C., the names are listed alphabetically by date of casualty on The Wall that Heals. Beginning at the center, the names start on the East Wall (right-hand side) working their way out to the end of that wing, picking up again at the far end of the West Wall (left-hand side) and working their way back to the center. Thus, the beginning and ending of the conflict are joined at the center.

The replica is constructed of powder-coated aluminum, supported by an aluminum frame, and is made up of 24 individual panels, each containing six columns of names. The panels join together to form the nearly 250 feet wide structure. Each of the replicas two wings is approximately 123-feet long and meets at an angle of 121 degrees, rising to a height of approximately five feet at their apex. Each name is laser-etched into the black reflective panels.

A database of names and their precise arrangement on The Wall had to be created to engrave the panels. The database was then linked to a computer-operated laser system developed solely for the purpose of engraving The Wall that Heals. The system etched image arrears of a specific size, requiring remarkable precise calibration across a wide field to match partially formed letters and lines. The Wall that Heals is transported from community to community by a 73-foot semi-truck and trailer which converts to a museum.

When emptied, the 53-foot trailer becomes a mobile museum. The exterior sides of the trailer open to reveal information cases displaying memorabilia, which tell the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the era surrounding the conflict, as well as the computer name locator.

The museum also includes a map of Vietnam and a chronological overview of the continuing conflict in Vietnam spanning several thousands of years. The museum helps many visitor's, particularly students, put American experiences in Vietnam in a historical and cultural context.

A 20-foot x 20-foot white canvas tent is attached to the trailer and serves as an information center where visitors can find names, either in the directory of names or by asking one of the volunteers working the computers. A variety of other useful matters, such as a book about MIA's, is also available.

Entries in the printed directory are in alphabetical order, making it easy to locate a specific name. Each entry is followed by a panel and line # to show where the name can be found on The Wall. The tent is lighted for nighttime use.

For more information on The Wall go to the website www.vvmf.org

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