‘Wall’ opens Thursday at 9 a.m.

Published 4:56 am Wednesday, November 14, 2018

After more than a year of preparation and anticipation, the “Wall That Heals” finally rode through Bogalusa on Tuesday afternoon on the way to its final destination of the Washington Parish Fairgrounds.

The Wall That Heals is a travelling exhibition that features a three-fourths-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the wall is to bring the significance of the veterans’ monument to those who may not be able to travel to the nation’s capital to view the actual thing. Since its establishment on Veterans Day in 1996, the travelling wall has visited more than 600 American cities.

The wall bears the names of the more than 58,000 men and women who lost their lives in service in Vietnam, and also honors the millions of Americans who served during the war. The exhibit also features a mobile “Education Center” that includes a searchable database — both print and digital — of the names of those honored on the wall.

Throughout the day today, the wall’s partitions will be unloaded and installed at the fairgrounds in Franklinton. There is a soft opening scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight, and the official public opening will be Thursday. The opening ceremony will be at 9 a.m.

From that point onward, the wall will be open for public viewing 24-hours-a-day until Sunday. There is no admission fee for the exhibit.

The wall will be officially closed on Sunday with a special ceremony at 1 p.m. Disassembly will begin at 2 p.m.

While the wall is visiting Washington Parish, there will be numerous events and ceremonies planned to honor veterans and their families. On Saturday, there will be a Gold Star families’ ceremony at 11 a.m., and a candlelight vigil will also be held at 6 p.m.

On Tuesday afternoon, trucks containing the exhibit were escorted from Pearl River through Franklinton, passing along the Louisiana Highway 21 route where citizens waved miniature flags and cheered the escort. Those who escorted the wall included police officers, firefighters as well as citizens on motorcycles and veterans.

For more information on the exhibit, visit online at www.thewallthatheals.com (or the direct internet address at www.vvmf.org/twth). For more information on the specific stop in Washington Parish, visit online at www.thewallfranklinton.com.

The visit to Franklinton is the final stop on the Wall’s 2018 schedule. It had previously visited Kountze, Texas, and Huntsville, Ala., this month.

The “Wall That Heals” replica is 375 feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point. Visitors experience the wall rising above them as they walk towards the apex, a key feature of the design of the full-size wall in Washington, D.C.

Like the original memorial, The Wall That Heals is erected in a chevron-shape and visitors can do name rubbings of individual service members’ names on The Wall. The replica is constructed of avonite, a synthetic granite, and its 140 numbered panels are supported by an aluminum frame. Machine engraving of the more than 58,000 names along with modern LED lighting provide readability of the wall, both day and night.

As on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the names on The Wall That Heals are listed by day of casualty. Beginning at the center/apex, the names start on the East Wall (right-hand side) working their way out to the end of that wing, picking up again at the far end of the West Wall (left-hand side) and working their way back in to the center/apex, joining the beginning and end of the conflict at the center.