'The Wall that Heals': Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall coming to McHenry County
The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, "The Wall That Heals," will be coming to McHenry Thursday, July 13, through Monday, July 17. It has been almost 10 years since the wall's last visit to McHenry County.
The wall is a three-fifths-scale replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., standing 6 feet tall at the center and covering almost 300 feet from end to end.
The traveling memorial is a reminder of the sacrifices the U.S. made during the Vietnam War. It was made for the purpose of helping to heal and rekindle friendships and to allow people who otherwise may not be able to make the trip to Washington, D.C., to visit their loved ones.
Don Russo, manager of the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, explained that this reason, among many, is a key motivation behind why they started doing this.
"That's why we began to travel and bring it to small communities and big cities in the first place," Russo said. "There's just so many people who will never make it to Washington."
Russo spoke about the significance of the wall coming to McHenry County for local veterans and family members in the community.
"This memorial gives a lot of veterans and family members the first step in the healing process for something that they've been carrying around for over 50 years," Russo said.
Peter Kim, quartermaster of the McHenry Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4600, shared the schedule of events for the visit and what will be offered to Vietnam veterans who attend.
On Thursday, the memorial wall will be traveling from Brevard County, Florida, and link up with the VFW Post 4600 motorcycle escort at the Lake County Fairgrounds main parking lot. From there, the escort will lead the memorial to the McHenry VFW, where volunteers will begin assembling the wall.
The most anticipated day of the weekend will be Saturday, which will feature an opening ceremony and a special luncheon for Vietnam veterans in attendance.
Throughout the weekend, the VFW staff and dedicated volunteers said they will ensure that the event runs smoothly, recognizing the impact the memorial has on veterans and the community.