Indiana to welcome Vietnam memorial replica
“The Wall That Heals,” a three-quarter-sized replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be displayed next week in Indiana County.
The Indiana-based Northern Appalachian Folk Festival Inc. and the Indiana American Legion post combined efforts to arrange for the wall’s local stop. The wall wasn’t available during the folk festival, which was held Sept. 5-7 in downtown Indiana.
But, according to folk festival board member Laura Jeffrey, the visit will be one of only two scheduled this year in Pennsylvania. She said next week’s stop in Indiana will provide an opportunity for area residents to pay their respects to U.S. service members who were killed in the Vietnam War.
The replica memorial will be placed in an area of the park that features a backdrop of trees, Jeffrey said. “There will be solitude. It will be like a solemn piece of ground,” she said, noting visitors will be free to make rubbings of names that appear on the wall.
Presented by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the replica wall will be accompanied by an education center that houses an exhibit about items of remembrance left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the nation’s capital. The center also will display the photos of 41 Vietnam veterans from Indiana County and surrounding areas whose names appear on the wall.
Arriving Tuesday by tractor-trailer from the VA Health Care hospital in Butler, the wall will travel along Route 422, with escorts on 80 motorcycles, many of them associated with area Legion groups, Jeffrey said. Pedestrians are encouraged to line Indiana’s Philadelphia Street to greet the procession as it heads toward an expected 4:30 p.m. arrival at Mack Park.
An opening ceremony, set for 6 p.m. Thursday, will include patriotic music by the Indiana High School Brass Quintet, presentation of colors by the Indiana University of Pennsylvania ROTC program, a volley salute, a dove release, testimonials from family members of fallen service members and remarks by Indiana County Sheriff Robert Fyock and Retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Dominic Rocco, both Vietnam veterans.
Those who fly in to Indiana County’s Jimmy Stewart Airport to visit the wall on Oct. 12 can partake of a pancake breakfast between 7 and 11 a.m. and can take advantage of shuttle transportation to the Mack Park display. Details are available by contacting Rick Fuellner at [email protected] or 724-463-3883.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .