- Associated Press - Monday, March 6, 2017

HAVERHILL, Mass. (AP) - The Wall That Heals, a mobile replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., is coming to Haverhill.

It’s about 250 feet long and, like the original memorial, honors the more than 3 million Americans who served in the U.S. armed forces in the Vietnam War. It bears the names of the more than 58,000 men and women who died in Vietnam. They are listed by day of casualty.

The exhibit will be on display 24 hours a day on the athletic field at Haverhill High School from June 15 to June 18. Volunteers will be on duty around the clock. The high school is at 137 Monument St.

The exhibit will be free and open to the public. It is presented by the Haverhill Veterans Council - composed of the VFW Post 29, DAV Chapter 20, American Legion Post 4, Korean War Veterans Chapter 294, Amvets Post 147, the Marine Corps League 128 and American Legion Post 248.

Keith Gopsill, president of the Haverhill Veterans Council, said the mobile exhibit is a moving tribute to Vietnam veterans.

“Those who cannot travel to Washington, D.C., to visit the original can see a replica here in Haverhill,” he said. “It will mean a lot to any veteran and can spark feelings in others. They call it ‘The Wall That Heals’ for a reason.”

Haverhill is one of two stops the exhibit will make in New England this year. The other is in Bridgeport, Connecticut, May 4 to 7.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is one of the most visited memorials in Washington, with more than 5.6 million visitors each year. However, many Americans have not been able to visit what has become known to many as “The Wall.”

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the organization that built The Wall in 1982, wants to give all veterans and their family members all across America an opportunity to see the memorial.

“Taking The Wall That Heals on the road gives thousands more veterans and their family members an opportunity to see The Wall and honor those who have served and sacrificed so much,” said Jim Knotts, president and CEO of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. “It helps veterans from all of America’s conflicts to find healing and a powerful connection through their common military experience.”

The Wall That Heals is a half-size replica of the original wall. Part of the exhibit that will visit Haverhill features a trailer that serves as a mobile education center.

The exhibits tell the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the era surrounding the war, and is designed to put American experiences in Vietnam in a historical and cultural context.

Information cases display photos of service members whose names are found on The Wall, along with letters and memorabilia left at The Wall in Washington, D.C. The museum also includes a map of Vietnam and a chronological overview of the Vietnam War.

Since it was created in 1996, The Wall That Heals has been on display in nearly 500 communities, allowing millions of people to view it.

The 2017 Wall That Heals tour is transported through a partnership with the Truckload Carriers Association and sponsored by USAA, PBS and Geico. Local sponsors are needed and donations are welcomed, organizers of the event said.

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Information from: Eagle Tribune (North Andover, Mass.), https://www.eagletribune.com


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