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Posted on: November 6, 2018

Traveling Vietnam War memorial wall to make 5-day stop in Harrisonville

A photo of The Wall that Heals on a sunny day.

The City of Harrisonville is happy to announce that The Wall That Heals exhibit will be on display for five days during the summer of 2019.

Officials with the American Legion Post 42 arranged the visit, with the wall set to be on display from June 27, through July 1, in the Mill-Walk Mall parking lot, located at 2601 Cantrell Road.

The exhibit features a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D. C. It stretches 375 feet in length, stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point and features the name of each one of the 58,220 soldiers who died during the war.

According to vvmf.org, the wall was first unveiled on Veterans Day 1996 in Washington D.C., and was designed to travel to communities throughout the United States. Since its dedication, the exhibit has been displayed in nearly 600 US communities.

“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,” says the website.

Along with the wall, the 53-foot trailer that carries the exhibit transforms to become a mobile education center. The exterior of the trailer features a timeline of "The War and The Wall" and provides additional information about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Additional exhibits give visitors a better understanding of the legacy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the collection of items left at The Wall. A Huey helicopter that saw combat during the Vietnam War will also be on display near the exhibit and guest speakers will also be present, speaking about the war, the memorial and life after the war for veterans.

Steve Tiedeman, Senior Vice Commander of American Legion Post 42, says getting the exhibit was no small task.

After the town was moved to the exhibit’s short list, Tiedeman says he spoke with several members of the community about bringing the wall into Harrisonville and received nothing but positive responses. He believes bringing the exhibit to Harrisonville will bring a peace to those who served in the war and the families of those who lost loved ones during the war.

“Whenever the soldiers first came back from Vietnam era, they were not greeted as soldiers are now…And so there is still a lot of anguish with the guys who lost friends and the families who lost family members over there,” Tiedeman said. “So, this is a way to get the community to come together and rally around the people that, whether it was a popular war or an unpopular war, still fought and bled for this country.”

Tiedeman says the wall will also be a blessing for those who have not been able to afford a trip to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the National Mall in Washington D.C.

“A lot of the veterans I talk to, they may not have the money to go to Washington D.C. to see the actual wall but this will give them a chance to heal and to show respect to the fallen soldiers and airmen and everything in between…Where as they may not ever have a chance to get out to Washington D.C. and see their friends and family’s names on the wall,” he said.

Officials with American Legion Post 42 say they will need help from the public while the exhibit is in Harrisonville. Those wanting to volunteer are asked to contact Steve Tiedeman at (816) 872-4450, or by reaching out on Facebook.