Washington, D.C. – Since the government shutdown began on Tuesday, Oct. 1, the National Mall and many of its monuments and memorials have been closed to foot traffic. The walkways leading to and around the Vietnam Veterans Memorial have been closed with barricades and continue to be off-limits to pedestrians. As an unfortunate result, groups of visitors, including veterans groups traveling great distances to see The Wall, have experienced limited access, or have even been denied entry. Responding to the situation, VVMF and Georgetown University have partnered to bring The Wall That Heals, VVMF’s half-scale replica of The Wall, to Washington, D.C.
Beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 8, The Wall That Heals will be on display and open to the public on the lawn of Healy Hall – a National Historic Landmark – on the campus of Georgetown University. Shuttle busses will be available to transport visitors from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial site on the National Mall to the campus. The Wall That Heals display will remain on campus through Columbus Day weekend. There is no charge to visit the display, and transportation to and from the National Mall will be provided at no cost.
“We all agree that people should have unlimited access to the memorials on the National Mall. Until that access is restored by Congress, we will continue doing all we can to make sure visitors can experience The Wall,” says VVMF’s President and Founder, Jan C. Scruggs. “People from across the world come to see these sites, and we are so grateful to Georgetown University for its help in giving visitors a place to go.”
The Wall That Heals will be at Georgetown University thanks to a tremendous amount of support from the University President’s office, the Georgetown Student Veterans Association and Georgetown University’s Reserve Officers Training Corps unit (the Hoya Battalion). Georgetown University has a long and distinguished military history, including 23 alumni who are listed on The Wall. Among those alumni, Major General George W. Casey was one of the highest ranking service members to die in Vietnam. Leonard Kaster was one of the first U.S. Air Force aviators recorded as killed in Vietnam. The Joseph Mark Lauinger Memorial Library on campus was named for an alumnus who was killed in the Vietnam War.
"We are honored to partner with the VVMF to host this memorial at Georgetown,” says Georgetown President, John J. DeGioia. “We hope that visitors to Washington, D.C., who are affected by the closure of the National Mall, will visit our campus to experience this extraordinary replica and remember those it honors."
The Wall That Heals exhibition is approximately 250 feet in length, and like the original Memorial, is erected in a chevron-shape. 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. As on The Wall, the names on The Wall That Heals are listed by day of casualty. The exterior sides of the trailer that carries The Wall That Heals open to become a mobile museum. Information cases display photos of service members whose names are found on The Wall, along with letters and memorabilia left at The Wall since 1982. The Museum also includes a map of Vietnam and a chronological overview of the conflict in Vietnam. The exhibits tell the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the era surrounding the conflict, and are designed to put American experiences in Vietnam in a historical and cultural context.