By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Family groups or individuals visited The Wall in very emotional and moving moments to remember their loved one lost in the Vietnam War.

‘The Wall That Heals’, a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Memorial with a mobile Education Center. For Veterans, their families and for the general public, no matter the ages, this is a rare opportunity for closure and the opportunity for historical education devoid of political spin, waited for visitors Thursday through Sunday (May 12-15), 24-hours per day.

VetsRoll volunteers Terry Coffman, Daniel Burow, and Michael Terrell worked in blistering heat and humidity setting up nearly 500 American flags plus all the service branches plus all fifty State flags.

Each State flag has a laminated hang tag showing the number of losses in that state, over the course of the Vietnam War.

“Thanks to Jerry Christopherson and True Patriots Care for providing the state flags,” said Mark Finnegan of VetsRoll. “Thanks to Boone County Sheriff’s Office for providing cover to our flag crew and to ‘Hollywood’ Frankie Perez for his endless contacts and the Boone County Fair and their Granges for inviting Veterans Honor Trip to Washington DC to participate in this beautiful tribute.”

“A beautiful evening and a inspiring and humble Welcome Ceremony as we paid tribute to the 58,318 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam,” said Tom Ratcliffe of the opening ceremony on Thursday, May 12. “Rev. Dr. Allan Buss gave a wonderful and hopeful speech about what The Wall means to the community. Stephen Anderson of Anderson Funeral Home and Cremation Services recognized the six soldiers from Boone County who lost their lives in Vietnam and any Gold Star family members present.  There was the presentation of colors, the’ Star Spangled Banner’ sung, a twenty-one gun salute and ‘Taps.’ Clint Morris, Mayor of Belvidere and Karl Johnson, Boone County Board Chairman laid the wreath at The Wall. A moving experience for sure. Thanks to everyone who made this all possible.”

The Wall That Heals’ visit to Boone County was sponsored by Flora Grange. “We are happy to be able to do this,” said Emalee Colver, co-chair of the Flora Grange committee. “We are thankful for the good weather and for the turnout on Wednesday as the Wall That Heals procession came through Belvidere on Tuesday. We had 21 Jeeps, over 50 motorcycles, a police escort, and the McHenry County Sheriff, Boone County Sheriff’s Dept., and the City of Belvidere all did us proud.

“Having the Wall That Heals here is just awesome. It is very meaningful and moving to Vietnam Vets. A few were in tears. We are just trying to give honor where honor should be given.”

About the Wall That Heals:

On Veterans Day 1996, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) unveiled a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., designed to travel to communities throughout the United States. Since its dedication, The Wall That Heals has been displayed at nearly 700 communities throughout the nation, spreading the Memorial’s healing legacy to millions.

Bringing The Wall home to communities throughout our country allows the souls enshrined on the Memorial to exist once more among family and friends in the peace and comfort of familiar surroundings. The traveling exhibit provides thousands of veterans who have been unable to cope with the prospect of facing The Wall to find the strength and courage to do so within their own communities, thus allowing the healing process to begin.

The main components of The Wall That Heals are The Wall replica and the mobile Education Center.

The Wall That Heals exhibit was on the road for more than 13,000 miles and visited 26 communities from coast to coast during its 2021 season. We were escorted by more than 3,000 vehicles into those communities, and we were able to spread The Wall’s healing legacy to nearly 200,000 visitors. Guided tours of the exhibit were provided to more than 12,000 students.

Wall That Heals facts

The Wall That Heals, traveling wall. is a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC. It is 375 feet in length and stands seven and a half feet high at its tallest point. Like the original Memorial, The Wall That Heals is erected in a chevron-shape and visitors can do name rubbings of individual service members on The Wall.

The Wall 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 day or night.

The names are arranged in order of date of casualty and alphabetically on each day, beginning at the center with Panel 1E (under 1959), down Panel 1E then moving right towards 70E, then 70W towards the center and ending  above the 1975 on 1W. The first and last casualties are side by side at the apex of the Memorial. Each name of The Wall is accompanied by a diamond or a cross. The diamond denotes that the service member is known dead or presumed dead. The cross denoted that the service member was missing or prisoner status when The Wall was built in 1982, and remains unaccounted for today. When a service member is repatriated, a diamond is superimposed over the cross. When this is changed in Washington DC, the change is also made at this travelling Wall. It is the only travelling Wall which is directly connected to The Wall in the capitol.

There are 58,281 names on The Wall which stands 385 feet in length. Over 1500 service members are unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Eight women are listed on The Wall.

The average age of service members listed on the wall is 22 years nine months. The youngest service member was 15 years old.

For further information visit or check out their Facebook page at The Wall That Heals.

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