Wall That Heals

Pictured, from left, are Jim Dougherty, director of NAFF Inc.; Paul Betz, caretaker at Mack Park; Wes Wertz, commander of the Indiana American Legion Post 141; Laura Jeffrey, NAFF Inc.; and Dave Moore, trustee of the Mack Foundation.

As the nation commemorates the 75th anniversary of D-Day during World War II, 2019 marks two other significant anniversaries: the centennial of the American Legion and the 55th anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War.

Anniversaries have served an important function in society: to allow time to stop and reflect on the meaning of the events and to serve as teachable moments for those without firsthand knowledge of the events.

In October, the Indiana American Legion Post 141 and the Northern Appalachian Folk Festival Inc., along with support from a number of other organizations, are bringing The Wall That Heals to the Mack Park Fairgrounds in White Township.

The wall is a 375-foot replica of the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C., with the names of more than 58,000 men and women who died in the war engraved on it. The permanent wall in the nation’s capital has two wings totaling 593 feet long.

After opening ceremonies on Oct. 10, the display will be available for the public to view 24 hours a day through Oct. 13. The exhibit includes a van that provides information about the Vietnam War and puts the conflict into a broader historical context. 

Arrangements are being made for special tours for students from local school districts.

A procession of cars and motorcycles will lead the exhibit from the Butler Veterans Administration Hospital to Mack Park on Oct. 8. Organizers are calling on residents to line Philadelphia Street in Indiana at 4:30 p.m. to welcome the escort.

If you wish to volunteer to help set up the wall or to serve as interpretive ambassadors to the public, call Wes Wertz at the American Legion at (724) 465-2326.

The Northern Appalachian Folk Festival will be held Sept. 6 and 7 in the 500 block of Philadelphia Street.