‘Wall That Heals’ arrives in Dover

 

DOVER — You could hear the roar just after 3 o’clock on Tuesday afternoon.

That’s when The Wall That Heals rolled into Kent County Veterans Memorial Park on South Little Creek Road escorted by police and nearly 100 motorcycles.

The Wall That Heals is a half-size mobile replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The replica tours the nation. It stopped in Dover on one other occasion, in October 1998 at Legislative Mall.

“I saw the actual wall in D.C. and it was humbling,” said Ron Sarg, chairman of the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs and a Vietnam veteran. “And with the traveling wall here,
it’s an excellent opportunity for anyone who can’t make it to D.C. to have that experience.”

It was an 18-months-long project to secure the Wall’s return to Dover. It was accomplished with the cooperation of representatives of the Commission of Veterans Affairs and Kent County Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 850.

But first it had to get here.

Hogs For Heroes, a non-profit organization of bikers, both veterans and civilians, among other groups escorted the wall from Georgetown to it’s temporary home in Memorial Park.

“We have about six chapters here. We aren’t only veterans, we are also supporters of the U.S. military and law enforcement,” said Mike “Sandman” Sandoe, of Ocean City, Md.

Bikers participating in the escort came from as far south as Ocean City and as far north as Newark. They were led by the Delaware State Police and the Dover Police.

A ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday to debut the wall and it will be open to the public around the clock through Saturday.

“The thing to remember is that there are more than 58,000 names on that wall,” Mr. Sarg said. “And there is an entire family attached to each and every one of them.”

Among the names on the wall, 160 are Delawareans and 28 are Kent Countians.

During the wall’s time on display, volunteers will read all 58,286 names in 30-minute shifts. The first reader will be Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen. He will start immediately after Thursday’s opening ceremony.

To sign up for a shift to read names, call Sherri Taylor, of the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs, at 257-3117 or stop by the display.

The names will be read as they are displayed on the wall; in order of the casualty. 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, joining the beginning and end of the conflict at the center.

Although a common souvenir to take from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., is a pencil rubbing of a name, it is not allowed on the traveling wall. But, those who want such a keepsake can ask for a copy at the Education Center at the exhibit hauler.

The Education Center gives not only a history of the Vietnam War but also displays mementos left behind from visitors who saw the wall in 1998.

The wall will be set up by volunteers from both organizations before it goes on display Thursday. In addition to lighting, the wall will be staffed overnight to accommodate visitors day and night.

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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