Honoring Vietnam Veterans, The Wall That Heals will make a stop in Belvidere in May of 2020.
I first experienced The Wall That Heals in October of 2018. My husband always talked of his Uncle John, whom he never met. John died in the Vietnam War, which inspired all of his brothers, including his father, to join the military.
When I heard it would be near my childhood home, I knew I had to go and find John’s name on the wall.
What I didn’t expect, was how incredibly humbling the entire experience was.
If you haven’t seen The Wall in Washington D.C., you just can’t comprehend how incredibly large it is. The Wall displays over 58,000 names of men and women who died in Vietnam. By bringing a scale replica around the country, it gives families the chance to experience the wall in their community and mourn their friends and family members.
When we first approached the wall, we were greeted by a very kind Vietnam Veteran. He spoke in a very soft voice and asked if we would like any help finding names. He explained how you could use their system to find any name you are looking for. He followed us to the first name, my husband’s Uncle.
When we found his name, I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach and said a soft prayer. Without hesitation, the Veteran assisting us used pencil to rub his name on a commemorative paper for me.
My family walked along the wall finding name after name of childhood friends of my Father. Many of these men and women were people he grew up with, played sports with, made memories with, that after high school graduation, he never saw again.
While we walked along the wall, a podium was set up in the center. Volunteers, one by one, would read the names of every person on the wall. I was brought to tears.
I absolutely suggest bringing your family to see The Wall That Heals, regardless of if you knew someone who passed or not. It’s an incredibly humbling experience, educational and something I’ll never forget.
The Wall That Heals will be in Belvidere, IL in May 2020. To learn more, or follow the tour schedule, click here.