Replica of Vietnam Memorial comes to Clinton Township

By: Alex Szwarc | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published August 10, 2021

 An American flag is seen at the base of the wall the night of Aug. 6. The replica wall stands more than 7 feet tall at its highest point and is 375 feet in length.

An American flag is seen at the base of the wall the night of Aug. 6. The replica wall stands more than 7 feet tall at its highest point and is 375 feet in length.

Photo by Alex Szwarc

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — For the second time in six years, The Wall That Heals visited Clinton Township.

For 24 hours a day for four days, beginning Aug. 5, the public had the chance to visit the wall — a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The wall was set up behind the Clinton Township Civic Center, on Romeo Plank Road.

People also could stop by the mobile education center, with exhibits telling the story of the Vietnam War, the wall and the divisive era in American history.

Supervisor Bob Cannon said he was proud that Clinton Township was one of only two Michigan communities to have The Wall That Heals available for area residents to see and experience.

“It’s really important that this traveling display offers veterans the opportunity to remember, mourn and heal in their own community,” he said, addressing individuals, many of whom are Vietnam veterans, who escorted the wall in town.

After Clinton Township, the wall was scheduled to be in Riverview Aug. 12 to Aug. 15.

“With The Wall That Heals, we’ve established another tradition in recognizing and honoring our military veterans,” Cannon said. “In 2010 and 2015, we applied for The Wall to come to our community, and we received it. We were approved again to have it return last year but had to wait until now because of the pandemic.”

The wall arrived at the Civic Center Aug. 3, with assembly and construction taking place the following day. Tours for the public officially began Aug. 5 after a welcome-home ceremony.

Carolyn Taylor, of Clinton Township, witnessed the motorcade arrival. Her brother is a Vietnam veteran and served in the Marines.

“I think it’s important to be here,” she said. “A lot of people were in the service, a lot of people died for our country, and we should support them.”

It was the first time Taylor saw the procession.

“They should have healthcare, and the country should appreciate them,” she said when asked what she believes the U.S. owes its Vietnam veterans. “More should be said about the Vietnam War. They came back and nobody was happy with them, like it was their fault.”

The Wall That Heals is larger than its predecessor from 2015. It honors the more than 3 million Americans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War and bears the names of the 58,276 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The new version stands over 7 feet tall at its highest point and is 375 feet in length.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., measures nearly 500 feet in length. Its apex is over 10 feet high.

The Aug. 5 welcome-home ceremony included keynote addresses from Vietnam veterans James Watts and Mike Bradley, of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 154 in Clinton Township.

Trained staff from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund were on-site to provide tours of the exhibits and ensure the reflective atmosphere of The Wall That Heals.

The wall was transported in a 53-foot trailer.

The education center included digital photo displays of local service members named on the wall. Also displayed was an In Memory Honor Roll recognizing Vietnam veterans who returned home and died later due to their service. Another display consisted of items left at the memorial in Washington, D.C.

The Wall That Heals tour is transported thousands of miles across the country each year through a partnership with the Truckload Carriers Association and the trucking industry.

It’s estimated that more than 300,000 people visited The Wall That Heals exhibit in 2019.