Vietnam memorial replica coming to Tyronza
The Wall That Heals, a traveling half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, is coming to Tyronza for this year's Stars and Stripes Jubilee.
David Wood, chairman of the Bring the Wall to Tyronza Committee, said the city has been fundraising for nearly four years to raise the $10,000 necessary to have the wall visit the community.
The Wall That Heals will be on display behind Tyronza Elementary School June 12-15. There will be an opening ceremony at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 12. Mayor Marion Bearden and Rep. John Hutchison will speak, and Ron Taylor with the American Legion Post 42, Trumann, will be Master of Ceremonies. Post 42 donated the flagpole to be used for the ceremony. The National Guard will post colors, and Wood said several fire departments in the area will participate in the ceremony.
While it's in Tyronza, the Wall That Heals will be open 24 hours a day. Buses will be available to shuttle people to the wall from the Stars and Stripes Jubilee in downtown Tyronza.
Wood said the idea to bring the wall to Tyronza originated in 2008 when he became acquainted with a group of Vietnam veterans with the 1st Cavalry. While the veterans were meeting in Memphis for a reunion, the cities of Marked Tree and Tyronza furnished buses to transport them to Marked Tree to see the wall. The group of veterans felt so welcomed they have adopted the area as their home away from home. Since then, they have returned to Tyronza and Marked Tree for the Stars and Stripes festival and the Cotton Pickin' Jubilee every year.
"They told me they'd like to see the wall at Tyronza," Wood said. "This is a way of giving back to those who serve our country. The goal is to make sure veterans get the recognition they need."
Wood said he has received calls from veterans who live as far as Texas and Tennessee who are interested in seeing the wall but cannot make the trip to Washington, D.C. "This is a way for them to see it," Wood said. "It makes me feel good. A lot of them have got friends on the wall. They can see the wall and say, 'At least I'm here and can see the names.'"
Setup for the wall will take place on Wednesday, June 11, and Wood said anyone who wants to come out to help will be welcomed. Additionally, anyone with pictures of Vietnam veterans is invited to bring the pictures, or copies, to Tyronza City Hall for a display which will be set up in a tent next to the wall. Anyone with questions may call Tyronza City Hall at 870-487-2168.
There will also be a Veteran's Dinner at the EPC Tyronza cafeteria at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 13.
Approximately 250 feet in length, the Wall That Heals was orignally unveiled by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund on Veterans Day in 1996. Since then, it has visited more than 350 cities, including Marked Tree in 2008 and Jonesboro in 2005.