Rural Missouri - May 2017 - 12
photo courtesy of Ruralite
The Wall that heals
Vietnam memorial returns to Missouri
case for Stockton, which quickly learned it would Warrensburg: June 29 to July 2
have a short time to get its plans in place.
"We were really surprised that we got it on our The arrival of The Wall That Heals at the University
hen the Vietnam Veterans Memorial -
better known as The Wall - was com- ﬁrst request," says co-chair Dana Dawes. "We had of Central Missouri's Kirkpatrick Library lawn is
pleted in 1982, it served as a ﬁtting trib- just three months to raise half of the money. The just one aspect of a campus-wide effort to educate
ute to the 58,272 who died in the war community donated all of the money. We have students and the public about the Vietnam War this
and those who fought in the war zone. There was enough money to purchase service branch ﬂags. We year. The focus, however, will be on the wall that is
even got the vo-tech school in Lamar making bench- being hosted by the McClure Archives and the Unionly one problem with the memorial.
es for us that we will have at versity Museum.
Its somber black granite
the wall if people want to sit."
walls are located in WashThe committee bringing the wall to Warrensburg
"Slip off that pack. Set
The call went out for vol- has reached out to nearby Whiteman Air Force base
ington, D.C. Many Vietnam
unteers to escort the wall into to share the experience with a new generation of
veterans had no opportunity
it down by the crooked
Stockton. The committee was veterans. They've also enlisted the help of students
to travel there to pay their
trail. Drop your steel
hoping for 100 motorcycles. from the university to ensure the effort doesn't end
respects to fallen comrades.
Instead, they are now expect- when the memorial moves on to its next stop.
Others found it difﬁcult to
pot alongside. Shed
ing 300 to 500 and have
visit the memorial without the
"One thing we are doing is Vietnam veteran interthose magazine-ladened
moved the goal to 1,000.
support of those back home.
views," says Amber Clifford-Napoleone, who heads
Area schools and home- the effort and is director of the university's museum
On Veterans Day in 1996,
bandoliers away from your
schoolers have been invited and archives. "We are collecting that for the archives
the Vietnam Veterans Memosweat-soaked shirt. Lay that to visit the memorial at the and making snippets available during the event."
rial Fund dedicated a mobile,
football ﬁeld. Each student
half-size replica of the memoVideos from the interviews will be housed on
silent weapon down and
will be given a card with a campus and at the Library of Congress so stories of
rial. Its purpose was to travel
step out of the heat. Feel
photo of a person whose those who fought in Vietnam won't be forgotten.
to communities across the
name is on the wall, along
United States, bringing the
"We are absolutely losing them and there are a
the soothing cool breeze
with information about them. lot of reasons for that," Amber says of the Vietnam
healing powers envisioned by
right down to your soul
"That way they can put a veteran's stories. "For a lot of these veterans, their
its creators directly to those
face with a name," Dana says. homecoming was not good. Talking about it isn't
who most needed the experi... and rest forever in the
"They are not just a name on happening in the same way that it did for World War
The truck that hauls the shade of our love, brother." the wall."
II and Korean veterans."
Stockton also plans to
memorial also converts into
She says 22 UCM students were trained to do
memorialize three soldiers the interviews, which also will be shared with local
an educational center that
- Tribute posted to
from Cedar County - Har- schools to both teach about the Vietnam War and
includes digital photo diswww.virtualwall.org
ry Powers, Derrill Price and also about collecting stories through interviews.
plays of those named on the
Donald Long - who died in
wall, letters and memorabilia
Another highlight will be the ﬁrst public viewing
left at the memorial, a map of Vietnam and a chron- the war. During a ceremony on Saturday, May 13, of Ken Burns' new documentary on the Vietnam
an area veteran will interview members of the fallen War. The screening is set for 5 to 11 p.m. on Friological overview of the war.
The Wall That Heals, as it has become known, soldiers' families.
day, June 30, in Wood Hall. "Our local PBS station,
"That is going to be our feature, hearing about KMOS, won a competitive grant for screening Ken
has traveled to more than 500 U.S. cities, including many small towns in Missouri. It returns to the those families," Dana says. "We have a special Burns' new ﬁlm. We will show it before it airs anystate twice this summer. On May 11, it will be in wreath for each family we are going to display at the where else," Amber says.
Stockton. It returns on June 29 to the University of wall for these three soldiers and after
There also will be a panel discussion hostthe event is over we are going to give
Central Missouri in Warrensburg.
ed by a local veteran and area teachers. But
Here's a look at what to expect as The Wall That them to the families."
the real beneﬁt for veterans comes on SatVisitors will have access to the wall
Heals arrives in Missouri.
urday, July 1, when a "one-stop service"
24 hours a day while it is in Stockton.
to assist Vietnam veterans will take
Each night at 8 p.m., the colors will be
place. There will be people on hand
Stockton: May 11 to May 14
retired and a ﬁre will be lit for those who
to offer veterans a wide variety of
The idea of bringing the wall to Stockton came after want to stay late.
"The wall means different things to difAmber also hopes to collect
the city earned distinction as a Purple Heart City,
memorabilia from Vietnam veterMayor Mary Norell says. "It was a great recogni- ferent people," Dana says. "To some it
ans to be housed at the univertion," she says, adding that the town has 27 indi- means closure. For some it is just awareviduals who were awarded the Purple Heart medal. ness. One of our volunteers says he has
sity's museum. "If they are looking
"The idea was to recognize our veterans and those been three times and just last year he was able to go for a safe place to store these items where it will
up to the wall. There are a lot of veterans who have not be forgotten we can help," she says. She can be
who have a Purple Heart. It just seemed to ﬁt."
Normally, a community will apply and wait a few never been able to see the wall. So this is pretty reached at 660-543-4877 or by email to Clifford@
years to get a spot on the schedule. That wasn't the important."
by Jim McCarty | firstname.lastname@example.org
RURAL MISSOURI | MAY 2017