The Wall That Heals, a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C., will be visiting Williamsburg Oct. 9-13. The 250-foot long memorial and accompanying exhibit will occupy the lawn in front of the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum on Francis Street.
Veterans organizations and the Patriot Guard Riders will escort the wall into Williamsburg on the afternoon of October 7. Once local veterans groups finish assembling the 24 panels that make up the memorial on Wednesday, October 8, it will be open to visitors 24 hours a day. There is no admission charge.
In addition to providing opportunities for the public to contemplate the sacrifices made by the men and women memorialized on the wall, there will be a series of public events to honor the fallen.
• The opening ceremony on Oct. 9 at 10 a.m. includes a Marine Honor Guard and the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums, as well as a wreath laying by the Combined Veterans Organizations. Retired four-star General Anthony Zinni, Congressman Rob Wittman, and incoming Colonial Williamsburg President Mitchell Reiss will offer remarks.
• Allan Carpenter, who spent seven years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, will speak in conjunction with a showing of Return with Honor. The documentary chronicles the stories of U.S. fighter pilots captured and imprisoned during the war. That event takes place at the Williamsburg Library Theatre, 515 Scotland St., at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11.
• A memorial ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 12 will include high school students reading the names of the 1,307 Virginians whose names are on the wall. More than 58,000 Americans lost their lives in the Vietnam War.
• Taps will be played every night at 8 p.m.
• On Columbus Day, Oct. 13, the wall will be taken down by volunteers following the 3 p.m. closing ceremony.
A mobile museum exhibit accompanies the wall, with information about some of the people whose names are on the wall, background on the Vietnam War, and some of the objects that have been left behind at the D.C. Wall.
Volunteers will provide assistance with locating names. You can also locate names online. On the wall, they are listed in order of casualty date.
Visitors are asked to park at Colonial Williamsburg’s Visitor Center, where they can board buses that stop at the site. Buses operate from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily.
The Wall That Heals is a project of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the nonprofit organization established to create the original wall. Since its debut in 1996, the traveling replica has made more than 350 stops around the nation, allowing citizens who might not otherwise have the opportunity to travel to Washington to pay their respects.