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updated: 11/4/2015 3:26 PM

Homemade Vietnam Wall memorial graces Naperville Healing Field

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  • Clint Burnell installs a panel Wednesday to create a replica of the Vietnam Wall memorial at Rotary Hill as part of Naperville's third Healing Field of Honor Veterans Day display. The wall has the names of all 58,000 military members who died in Vietnam, including 11 from Naperville.

      Clint Burnell installs a panel Wednesday to create a replica of the Vietnam Wall memorial at Rotary Hill as part of Naperville's third Healing Field of Honor Veterans Day display. The wall has the names of all 58,000 military members who died in Vietnam, including 11 from Naperville.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Michael DiCristina, left, and Clint Burnell of the Naperville Park District install a replica of the Vietnam Wall memorial on Wednesday at Rotary Hill. The wall will be part of this year's Healing Field of Honor, which opens Friday and runs through Thursday, Nov. 12, with ceremonies at 10 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Wednesday.

      Michael DiCristina, left, and Clint Burnell of the Naperville Park District install a replica of the Vietnam Wall memorial on Wednesday at Rotary Hill. The wall will be part of this year's Healing Field of Honor, which opens Friday and runs through Thursday, Nov. 12, with ceremonies at 10 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Wednesday.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 

The traveling versions of the Vietnam Wall memorial in Washington, D.C., weren't available to go on display this year in Naperville, organizers of the city's Healing Field of Honor said.

But that didn't stop organizers from honoring those who fought in Vietnam with what Healing Field Chairman Marty Walker says will be a powerful site for reflection.

"Typical Naperville, we're building our own," Walker said about the wall containing the names of 58,000 American service members who died in Vietnam.

Seventy lightweight aluminum panels that make up Naperville's version of the memorial were installed beginning Wednesday morning at Rotary Hill, 440 Aurora Ave. That's where the city's third Healing Field of Honor since 2009 will display 2,015 American flags beginning Friday until Thursday, Nov. 12.

Naperville Park District employees, who built wooden supports for the 241½-foot-long wall last month, attached the panels Wednesday after they were printed by Naperville businessman Ray Kinney's company Blooming Color.

"We should be thanking Blooming Color for building the Vietnam memorial wall," Mayor Steve Chirico said. "It's going to be amazing."

The wall plays into the field's theme: "50 Years of Healing," which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War.

The field will be open all hours of the day. Between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., visitors can stop in the nearby Riverwalk Eatery to buy a flag and a tag to dedicate it to a military member or veteran. Flags are $30 and tags are $5. Proceeds benefit the Allen J. Lynch Medal of Honor Veterans Foundation.

"It's just going to be a very emotional thing," Walker said.

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