Experience the Wall That Heals This Summer

  • Visit North Central

wall-with-flagsIt’s always a moving experience: Standing before the wall, looking at more than 58,000 names, and realizing that each one represents a service member who died in the Vietnam War.

The Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC, draws visitors to its glistening black surface. Many have tears in their eyes as they gently touch the name of a loved one, a friend, a classmate, or a brother-in-arms.

But not everyone can make the trek to the nation’s capital to see the Vietnam wall, or other notable memorials such as the Three Soldiers statue and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, in person. You can, however, experience the emotion of the memorial this summer at Fort Devens—the military installation where thousands of troops were trained for service, in peacetime and in wartime, from World War I through the Gulf War. Fort Devens’ era as an Army base ended in 1996, but it continues service as home to the Devens Reserve Forces Training Area.

Bringing the Experience Home

little-girl-at-wallThe Wall That Heals—a threequarter scale replica, spanning 375 feet in length, and 7½ feet high at its tallest point—will be on display at Devens in July, along with a mobile Education Center. This local visit is one of 33 stops the Wall will make in 2024, starting in Hawaii and ending in Panama City, Florida. Other New England stops will be in Quincy, Massachusetts, and Biddeford, Maine, just before the Wall’s arrival at Devens on July 25. It will remain here until July 28.

According to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the traveling exhibit “honors the more than three million Americans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces in the Vietnam War and it bears the names of the 58,281 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.”

Since its dedication in 1996, The Wall That Heals has been displayed in nearly 700 communities throughout the nation, spreading the Memorial’s healing legacy to millions. The 53-foot trailer that carries The Wall transforms to become a mobile Education Center, featuring a timeline of “The War and The Wall” and providing 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.

You can learn more about The Wall That Heals and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund at vvmf.org. Updated details about the local visit can be found on the Facebook page of Operation Service, a local organization that is working with ClearPath for Veterans NE to coordinate the visit to this region.