Local veterans are anticipating the arrival of The Wall That Heals in Harrison next month.
“This means a lot of those of us who served,” said VFW Duwel Post 7570 Commander Mike Whitener.
In 1966, Whitener enlisted in the Army. He was 18 years old when he went to Vietnam.
“At the Memorial in Washington I saw the names of four buddies who I thought made it home, and they didn’t,” Whitener said. “It really got to me. I’m grateful our country put that up and now people in our area get a chance to see this.”
The City is working with local businesses, organizations and community members to bring The Wall That Heals to Harrison June 10 through June 13. The three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. honors more than three million Americans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces in the Vietnam War and bears the names of the 58,279 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.
An accompanying mobile education center will provide valuable context for young people who did not experience the war. The exhibit will be open for public viewing 24 hours per day at JTM Food Group, 110 Industrial Avenue, Harrison, Ohio 45030.
“Everyone needs to come see it,” said City Council Representative and American Legion Yeager Benson Post 199 Finance Director Jean Wilson. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the City and for young people to see and learn what it means.”
To bring The Wall to Harrison, $10,000 was raised. Duke Energy Foundation contributed $5,000 and local businesses JTM, F&M MAFCO and Geograph also donated. More than 100 volunteers from Southwest Local Schools, American Legion Yeager-Benson Memorial Post 199, AMVETS Post 13, VFW Post 7570 and USO Ohio also make the event possible.
“This is about remembering and respecting their service,” said AMVETS Indiana Post 13 Commander Steve Jaeger.
The AMVETS post is planning a public veterans appreciation event at their location on S. State Street in West Harrison, Ind. June 12.
“I remember watching the guys coming home from Vietnam on the news,” Jaeger said. “It was a terrible thing how they were treated. This is allowing the community to have a healing process for the veterans who went through Vietnam.”
From Harrison, the exhibit’s next stop will be Champlain, New York.