The Wall That Heals, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, along with a mobile education center, will be in Cookeville-Putnam County, Tn., April 19-22. As the only display in Tennessee, the exhibit is expected to welcome guests from across the Southeast, will be open 24 hours a day and is free to the public.
The Wall That Heals honors the more than three million Americans who served in the U.S. Armed forces in the Vietnam War and bears the names of the more than 58,000 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.
Cookeville-Putnam County will be among the first to host a new, larger exhibit which includes a three-quarter scale Wall replica that is 375-feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point. With the new replica at this size, visitors will be able to experience The Wall rising above them as they walk towards the apex, a key feature of the design of The Wall in D.C. For the first time in the history of The Wall That Heals, visitors will be able to do name rubbings of individual service member's names on The Wall.
"We are honored to host this powerful exhibit in Tennessee as we remember each of these heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” Governor Bill Haslam said. “This is even more special for Tennessee, as the first Vietnam casualty is actually from this region. Spec James Thomas “Tom” Davis is buried less than 20 miles from where the Wall will be on display.”
Nine Putnam County residents are listed on the wall, and 65 from the Upper Cumberland region.
“This opportunity to host such a tribute to our veterans is something that the community in Putnam County will always take pride in,” said Putnam County Executive Randy Porter. “We are known as a patriotic community, making this a natural fit to have the honor of hosting and paying respects to our Vietnam veterans.”
“We invite guests to pay their respects at the Wall, but to also take advantage of the opportunities to fulfill their patriotic notions by visiting Spec Davis’ grave and other veterans memorial points-of-interest in the Upper Cumberland, such as Alvin C. York State Historic Park, Putnam and Jackson County Veterans' Halls, White County Veterans' Memorial Park, and Crossville's Military Memorial Museum,” said Mr. Porter.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is one of the most visited memorials in Washington, D.C., with more than 5.2 million visitors each year. However, many Americans have not been able to visit what has become known to many as "The Wall." The Wall That Heals made its debut in 1996 and since then has been on display in nearly 600 U.S. communities in addition to an April 1999 tour of the Four Provinces of Ireland and a visit to Canada in 2005. Last year alone, more than 250,000 people visited The Wall That Heals. Hosting The Wall That Heals provides a community with a multi-day experience that includes an education for local schools and organizations on the history of the Vietnam era and The Wall.
"We are thrilled to share the new The Wall That Heals exhibit with the public this year. Through The Wall That Heals, we are able to return the names home to communities across the country and allow Vietnam veterans and their family members who cannot make it to Washington, D.C. the opportunity to see The Wall. It gives communities a teaching moment for younger generations on why we should honor those who have served and sacrificed so much," said Jim Knotts, president and CEO of Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Fund.
The exhibit includes The Wall replica and a mobile education center comprised of: digital photo displays of "Hometown Heroes" - service members whose names are on The Wall that list their home of record within the area of a visit; digital photo displays of Vietnam veterans from the local area honored through VVMF's In Memory program which honors veterans who returned home from Vietnam and later died as a result of their service; video displays that teach about the history and impact of The Wall and of the collection of items left at The Wall in D.C.; educational exhibits told through items in the collection; a map of Vietnam and a chronological overview of the Vietnam War.
The Tennessee exhibit of The Wall That Heals and Mobile Education Center will be on display April 19-22, at the Putnam County Sports Complex at 497 Whiteaker Springs Road in Cookeville.
This display has been made possible by financial support from: Putnam County Government, Averitt Express, First National Bank, 106.9 Kicks Country and Rock 93.7. Opportunities to support are still available.
For more information regarding schedule of events, sponsor/support opportunities, lodging discounts, etc., go to VisitCookevilleTN.com/TheWallThatHeals.