On Veterans Day 1996, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) unveiled a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., designed to travel to communities throughout the United States. Since its dedication, The Wall That Heals has been displayed at nearly 700 communities throughout the nation, spreading the Memorial’s healing legacy to millions.
Bringing The Wall home to communities throughout our 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 provides 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 main components of The Wall That Heals are The Wall replica and the mobile Education Center.
The Wall That Heals exhibit features a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The replica is 375 feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point. Visitors experience The Wall rising above them as they walk towards the apex, a key feature of the design of The Wall in D.C.
Like the original Memorial, The Wall That Heals is erected in a chevron-shape and visitors can do name rubbings of individual service member’s names on The Wall. The replica is constructed of Avonite, a synthetic granite, and its 140 numbered panels are supported by an aluminum frame. Machine engraving of the more than 58,000 names along with modern LED lighting provide readability of The Wall day and night.
As on The Wall, the names on The Wall That Heals are listed by day of casualty. Beginning at the center/apex, 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 in to the center/apex, joining the beginning and end of the conflict at the center.
The 53-foot trailer that carries The Wall That Heals transforms to become a mobile Education Center. The exterior of the trailer features a timeline of “The War and The Wall” and provides additional information about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Additional exhibits give visitors a better understanding of the legacy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the collection of items left at The Wall.
- Hometown Heroes – Photos of service members on The Wall who list their home of record from the local area. The photos are part of The Wall of Faces, an effort to put a face to every name inscribed on The Wall in Washington, D.C.
- In Memory Honor Roll – Photos of local Vietnam veterans honored through VVMF’s In Memory program, which honors veterans who returned home and later died as a result of their service.
- An In Memory plaque replica that honors those veterans who returned home and later died as a result of their service.
- Items Left Behind – A display of items representative of those left at The Wall in Washington, D.C. in remembrance of those on The Wall. Watch below as VVMF’s Education Director, Callie Wright, speaks with students about a care package that is part of the exhibit. Watch videos about items on display with The Wall That Heals exhibit.
- Map of Vietnam
- Timeline of the War and The Wall
- Two paper directories allow for names to be found alphabetically.
- The Gold Star Bike – Donated to VVMF by the American Gold Star Mothers in 2012, the bike is a Softail Custom Harley that pays tribute to the mothers who lost sons to the Vietnam War.
The Wall That Heals is the only traveling exhibit affiliated with The Wall in Washington, D.C. and includes the largest Wall replica that travels the country. Two VVMF staff members lead volunteers on site, educate visitors and students, and ensure the reflective atmosphere of The Wall.