Local News

Replica Of Vietnam Veteran's Memorial On Display In Raleigh

Posted February 21, 2002 3:26 a.m. EST

— Each year, millions of people travel to Washington, D.C. to see the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial. This weekend, a replica of the exhibit travels to Raleigh.

John Anderson, a Vietnam veteran, and his wife, Linda, are the keepers of "The Wall That Heals."

The traveling exhibit is a 250-foot-long replica of the original monument in the nation's capital.

"It's like visiting a cemetery," John said. "You go to talk to your loved ones in the cemetery and pay respects, and it's what I'm doing now. I'm taking them to their hometowns and helping the hometowns heal and get some closure."

Since 1996, the couple has traveled across the country and to Ireland, bringing the wall to people who might not otherwise see it.

"The little towns you go into, they were so appreciative having this, and showing their community veterans that they cared about it was really wonderful," Linda said.

Triangle resident Gary Turner served in Vietnam from 1966 to 1971. The veteran knows the power of the wall.

"I think it's a great idea to take it out and let those veterans who have some feelings, or baggage as we call it, from their experience in Vietnam get close to the wall and let some of the emotion go and remember," he said.

Artifacts collected from the national monument, including dog tags, medals and boots, are traveling with the exhibit.

Seeing the wall is painful for some, but the Andersons say the exhibit starts the necessary dialogue to move on and heal.

This exhibit will be at the Historic Oak View County Park on Carya Drive in Raleigh. It will be open 24 hours a day through midnight Sunday.

Members of Rolling Thunder and the North Carolina Vietnam veterans will staff the information tent and guard the exhibit around the clock.