Memorial Day ~ 2014
This year Memorial Day is May 26th. For the past couple of years we have published a post just before the Memorial Day weekend sharing some historical and current information. Last year we focused on those who served and perished during and as a result of their service in World War II.
This year we want to turn the lens on the Vietnam War and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall ~ The Wall That Heals.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated on November 13, 1982. It is located in Washington, D.C., honoring those who fought and died in the Vietnam War in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, as well as those who are still missing in action. The names of more than 58,000 war dead are etched into the polished black granite. Like the war itself, establishing the Vietnam Memorial was not without its controversies. Many people have wondered why “a wall?” Why not a statue?
One informative website The Vietnam Veterans Memorial – The Wall-USA explains the designer’s vision:
She [Maya Ying Lin] wanted to create a park within a park – a quiet protected place onto itself, yet harmonious with the overall plan of Constitution Gardens. The walls have a mirror-like surface (polished black granite) reflecting the images of the surrounding trees, lawns, monuments, and visitors. The walls seem to stretch into the distance, directing us towards the Washington Monument, in the east, and the Lincoln Memorial, to the west, thus bring the Vietnam Veterans Memorial into a historical context.
Eventually statues were added to the memorial grounds. The Three Soldiers statue was dedicated in November 1984 and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial was dedicated in 1993.
The National Park Service reports that in an average year 3 to 4.5 million people visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The National Mall also includes the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the World War II Memorial among others*.
Have you ever visited the National Mall? It is amazing and can quite easily take your breath away. But the truth is most of our American population will never have the opportunity to make this trip.
Maybe the “Wall” will come to you…
It’s true. There are a number of what are called traveling replicas. The first of these replicas was the brainchild of John Devitt. Mr. Devitt, a Vietnam Veteran, happened to be able to attend the dedication ceremonies in 1982. He left the event knowing in his heart that many veterans and family members would never have the opportunity to visit the National Mall. He and his organization created The Moving Wall.
There is also an organization called the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall and you can see their schedule here. And the American Veterans Traveling Tribute Mission‘s schedule can be found here.
Then there is The Wall That Heals
The non-profit organization which was authorized by the US Congress to build a memorial dedicated to those who served and those who died in service during the Vietnam War is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF). Their mission is simple:
The mission of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) is to preserve the legacy of The Wall, promote healing and educate about the impact of the Vietnam War.
The Wall That Heals Traveling Wall offers their 2014 traveling schedule here.
Some final thoughts through the eyes of a Donut Dollie
As we ready for Memorial Day there are many of us who will find our weekend filled with emotions. There will be those that remember their fallen relatives and friends. There will be those that won’t want to deal with the thoughts of war and all the havoc that can be or was wreaked on so many over the past century and before. And there are those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder searching for health and looking to heal.
We came across a video produced in 2013 by the VVMF. It features Holley Watts, a Donut Dollie, reciting a poem she wrote a few years ago which describes one of her visits to The Wall.
If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.
The entire staff of Cottonwood Tucson wish you and your family members a peaceful and healthy Memorial Day.
*As a side note, this July 28th will mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I; however, there is still no World War I Memorial on the National Mall.