Touring Vietnam Veterans Memorial coming to Columbus

Welcome ceremony for the Wall that Heals held at Columbus Public Library
(Photo source: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website)
(Photo source: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Wall That Heals, the stunning half-scale replica of the famed Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D. C., will be coming to Columbus the first week of April.

The Wall will be located on the grounds of the Columbus Public Library, 3000 Macon Road. It will be open continuously to the public from 9 a.m. Thursday April 4 until 5 p.m. Sunday April 7.

The Wall That Heals has been touring the country since 1996. It was created by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the organization that built and now operates the Vietnam Veterans Memorial site in Washington D. C. It was designed as a means to bring the Memorial to veterans, families and citizens from across the country that cannot make the trip to Washington to see the original. It has been to over 350 locations since its creation.

Also on site during its visit will be a mobile museum containing displays of photos of service members honored on the Wall, memorabilia left at the Wall in D.C., information about the Vietnam War and a chronology of the conflict. There will also be an information center where visitors can find names and gather other information.

On Thursday April 2nd, the Wall will arrive in Columbus at approximately 4:00pm. The truck containing The Wall and its museum will be accompanied from La Grange to Columbus by riders from the Southern Cruisers Riding Club and law enforcement representatives from Troup, Harris and Muscogee Counties. The escort will depart from the LaGrange area Weigh Station at approximately 3:00pm and will venture into Columbus via Interstate 185 South to exit 6 (Macon Road), and from there to the Columbus Public Library.

The public is invited to attend a Welcome Ceremony & Memorial Service for The Wall That Heals on Thursday, April 4th at 9:00am. Speakers will include representatives from Ft. Benning, the Columbus Consolidated Government and our religious community.

The visit by The Wall That Heals is the culminating event for this year's The Big Read. The Big Read is a program dedicated to encouraging a community to read one book during a month-long series of programs and events. The book for this year's celebration has been Tim O'Brien's acclaimed The Things They Carried, his retelling of his time in Vietnam during the latter part of the 1960s.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Midwest. This year the Big Read was presented by the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries, Columbus State University and the Muscogee County Friends of Libraries, with media sponsorship from Sunny 100 and WLTZ-38. Columbus is one of 78 cities nationwide to receive a national grant and to host a The Big Read celebration this year.

More information about The Wall That Heals can be found at its website.