A traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. is stopping in western Iowa this Labor Day weekend. The exhibit, known as “The Wall That Heals,” in now set up in Audubon and an opening ceremony will take place tonight (Friday) at 6:30. Margee Shaffer, with Audubon County Economic Development, says the community has been planning for this weekend for the past 9 months. She says The Wall That Heals is only making two stops in Iowa this year. It was in Newton back in April.
The exhibit is officially affiliated with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the nation’s capital. The 250 foot replica of the original memorial features the names of tens of thousands of soldiers who gave their lives during the Vietnam War. It’ll be on display in John James Audubon Park through Monday. The wall will be open to the public 24 hours a day with several ceremonies planned over the holiday weekend.
“We have a number of people who have planned their vacations to come back during this time period,” Shaffer says. “We have involved veterans groups throughout the area in the planning process and a number of veterans will be speaking about their experiences during the Vietnam War.”
This year, the Department of Defense is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the war in Vietnam. Shaffer expects a lot of Vietnam vets will travel to Audubon to see the half-scale replica of The Wall. “For many, it’ll be an emotional time and it’ll be a healing time,” Shaffer says. “Because of the Vietnam War being somewhat controversial, we have a lot of veterans that came back who were never recognized for their service or those who’ve given the ultimate sacrifice.”
More information about The Wall That Heals and the schedule for it’s stay in Audubon is available at: auduboncounty.com.