One panel of ‘The Wall’, displaying some of the names of fallen U.S. service members from the Vietnam War. Courtesy/wikipedia
SANTA FE—A half-size replica of the National Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., is traveling to Santa Fe for a six-day stop. The Wall That Heals is scheduled to arrive at 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 18 at Ft. Marcy Park.
The 18-wheel truck carrying the Wall will be escorted by motorcycle-riding members of the American Legion Riders Post 26 and the Patriot Guard Riders on the Wall’s last leg of its arrival into the city. The truck will remain parked overnight at the park.
Set up of the 250-foot-long wall will begin at 8 a.m., the following day, March 19. The exhibit is scheduled to open at 4 p.m. to the public. There is no charge for visitation or viewing. The site will remain open 24-hours a day until 6 a.m. Monday, March 24, when the Wall will be disassembled in preparation for travel to its next stop in San Antonio, Texas.
The Wall That Heals was unveiled in 1996 by the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Fund (VVMF)—the organization which manages the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall bearing the names of the 58,286 service members killed in action during the Vietnam War. The names of 398 New Mexicans are among those etched in the beautiful granite memorial.
The half-size Wall That Heals consists of 24 powder-coated aluminum panels—each one bearing six columns of names. According to the VVMF, the traveling half-sized replica of the National Wall tours the country with three goals in mind: To honor the KIA’s and all who served in the war, to educate the public about the war, and to allow the many thousands of veterans who have been unable to cope with the prospect of facing the National Wall to find the strength and courage to do so within their own communities, thus allowing the healing process to begin.
SCHEDULE OF SANTA FE EVENTS
In addition to the round-the-clock viewing opportunity, the public is invited to attend numerous events scheduled during stop of The Wall That Heals in Santa Fe.
- Thursday, March 20, mayor-elect Javier Gonzales, Vietnam Veterans of America State President Henry Urioste and other city officials are scheduled to be among the Guests of Honor at an 11 a.m. Welcoming Ceremony.
- Friday, March 21, the Wall will remain on its 24-hour “open” status for free public visitation and viewing.
- Saturday, March 22 at 5 p.m., the names of all 398 New Mexicans killed in action in the Vietnam War will be read aloud by members of the New Mexico Chapter of the American Gold Star Mothers during a special Candlelight Vigil. The names of the 397 are among the names of the 58,286 fallen Vietnam soldiers etched on the national Memorial Wall. A pre-vigil procession will be led by the Northern New Mexico Chapter of the Blue Stars Mothers of America.
New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services Secretary Timothy Hale, New Mexico National Guard Adjutant General Andrew Salas and Santa Fe Vet Center Team Leader and Vietnam veteran Milo Garcia are scheduled speak at the ceremony.
U.S. Air Force Chaplain William Toguchi Chaplain Toguchi has been invited to give the Invocation. He is one of only two active-duty military personnel who saw combat action in Vietnam.
Sunday, March 23, Gov. Susana Martinez has been invited as the Keynote Speaker at an 11 a.m. Honoring Ceremony. A history of The Wall will be read by Tim Tetz, the Director of Outreach for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF), the organization which helped build both the traveling and national Memorial Wall.
Tetz also will honor and thank Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Northern New Mexico Chapter 996 for its work in making New Mexico the first state to collect the pictures when the VVMF’s nationwide Call for Photos project was launched in 2009. The photos are being gathered for a digital display to be featured in a planned national Vietnam War Museum in Washington, D.C.
Recently-retired VA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs and former NMDVS Secretary John M. Garcia also is scheduled to deliver the Welcome Address. USAF Lt. Col. William Toguchi has also been invited to deliver the Invocation.
There is no admission fee for the public to visit The Wall That Heals or for any of the ceremonies. Parking is free, but is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information, contact VVA Chapter 996 member Art Canales at email@example.com or 505.986.8484.