The Wall That Heals

The Kernersville VFW 5352 will be hosting a special event beginning April 27 and is currently fundraising to pay for this and other community events and charity projects in the coming year.
The Wall That Heals, also known as the Vietnam Moving Wall, will be transported to Kernersville VFW 5352 on April 27 and will remain there through May 1.
On Veterans Day 1996, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) unveiled a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., designed to travel to communities throughout the United States. Since its dedication, The Wall That Heals has been displayed at nearly 700 communities throughout the nation, spreading the memorial’s healing legacy to millions. The Wall That Heals exhibit was on the road for more than 13,000 miles and visited 26 communities from coast to coast during its 2021 season. It was escorted by more than 3,000 vehicles into those communities, and The Wall’s healing legacy was spread to nearly 200,000 visitors. Guided tours of the exhibit were provided to more than 12,000 students.
This is a big event for Kernersville VFW 5352 and it is one they are proud to host.
“It cost $7,000 to have The Wall transported here. Then we will have to build the base, which is 256 feet (127.5 feet by 127.5 feet). It has to be guarded 24 hours a day. We will do some of that with volunteers, but you also have to have law enforcement involved and we’ll start meeting with the KPD (Kernersville Police Department) next week,” said VFW 5352 Commander Josh Hunt. “I think the biggest thing about The Wall coming, the Vietnam vets did not have a welcome home. At the climate of the time they were not welcome. The people confused the government’s action with the people that fought in the war. We have eight members of our post that were Vietnam vets that have not seen it. There are some proud Vietnam vets and some that don’t admit it. Even with the ones that will not admit, they will be there to pay their respects and give themselves closure. It will give them the opportunity to say goodbye in their own way.”
The Wall That Heals has special meaning for Kernersville VFW Quartermaster Steve Amos.
“We are expecting a lot of people here. I have been to The Wall in Washington. I have been there a couple of times during the day and night. It really makes you reflect on things you are thankful for, especially when you see names you know on the wall. Some of them were in aircraft I was in and some of them did not make it back,” Amos said.
The Wall That Heals exhibit features a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The replica is 375 feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point. Visitors experience The Wall rising above them as they walk towards the apex, a key feature of the design of The Wall in D.C.
Like the original memorial, The Wall That Heals is erected in a chevron-shape and visitors can do name rubbings of individual service member’s names on The Wall. The replica is constructed of Avonite, a synthetic granite, and its 140 numbered panels are supported by an aluminum frame. Machine engraving of the more than 58,000 names along with modern LED lighting provide readability of The Wall day and night. As on The Wall, the names on The Wall That Heals are listed by day of casualty. Beginning at the center/apex, 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 into the center/apex, joining the beginning and end of the conflict at the center.
There are also a number of displays that will accompany The Wall That Heals on its journey to Kernersville. These include a Hometown Heroes display. This has photos of service members on The Wall who list their home of record from the local area. The photos are part of The Wall of Faces, an effort to put a face to every name inscribed on The Wall in Washington, D.C. There is also an In Memory Honor Roll display, which honors local Vietnam veterans who returned home and later died.
Hosting The Wall That Heals is going to be the biggest event for Kernersville VFW 5352, but the organization does many things around the local area for veterans and the community in general. The Kernersville VFW 5352 has 203 members that are veterans and 140 auxiliary members who are immediate family members of people that are VFW eligible.
“Our biggest push in the fall was to help homeless veterans. We did a homeless veterans benefit and got shoes, pants and Christmas bags of warm weather gear for 11 veterans. We also got them a hotel so they wouldn’t have to be outside on Christmas. We do Voice of Democracy, which is a scholarship program for high schools where they do speeches and we do Patriots Pen, which is the same thing geared to writing an essay,” said Hunt. “We do a Veterans Day event to honor every vet from World War I to Afghanistan. On 9/11 we did a low country boil and we did a POW/MIA reception to welcome any POWs. We also do a breakfast every Sunday of every month that is open to the public.”
The Kernersville VFW is working on creating a Tiny URL so people that wish to donate can link to the post website. Currently anyone wishing to donate to the Kernersville VFW 5352, located at 618 Edgewood Street, is just asked to drop by. The VFW is open from 1 to 8 p.m. each day.
“Anyone wishing to donate can come by the post and speak to anyone. Right now, we are having raffles. People can go to anyone in the canteen and donate and say what they are wanting to donate to,” Hunt said.

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