Michigan residents won’t need to make a trip to Washington, D.C., this fall to pay tribute to Vietnam War veterans—instead, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is bringing the memorial to Dearborn.
The Wall That Heals—a traveling half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial—will be on public display in Dearborn Oct. 25-29 on the grounds of the Ford World Headquarters.
Free public viewing of the memorial replica will begin on Thursday following a 10 a.m. opening ceremony and run 24 hours per day until 8 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 29.
The memorial arrived in Dearborn Tuesday with a full police and patriotic motorcycle escort, including five chapters of the American Legion Riders and members of the Patriot Guard, Rolling Thunder, Leathernecks, Viet Now and Combat Vets.
Novi native and Vietnam veteran Bob Dobek led the motorcade, driving the trailer holding the memorial into Dearborn Tuesday with his wife, Brenda.
Now residents of Iowa, Brenda Dobek explained that Bob spent nearly 24 years in the army. The couple were hired to drive the Wall That Heals memorial in 2010.
"This is our 83rd site," she said.
Bob added that participating in the display of the memorial never ceases to amaze him, but added that bringing The Wall That Heals to Dearborn was like a homecoming for him.
"It's nice to be this close to my original home," he said.
About the memorial
More than just a replica, The Wall That Heals exhibit includes a museum that tells the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the divisive era in American history.
“The Wall That Heals transcends the Vietnam War to help our great nation renew its relationship with veterans of all wars,” said Jan Scruggs, president of the VVMF. “It helps veterans from all of America’s conflicts to find healing and a powerful connection through their common military experiences.”
Since its inception in 1996, more than 2 million people have visited the VVMF’s traveling exhibit.
The names on The Wall That Heals replicate the names on The Wall in Washington, D.C. and are listed alphabetically by day of casualty.
The traveling wall is not conducive to rubbing or stenciling names, but at the onsite information booth, people may request a name rubbing be sent to them.
They may also bring photographs of loved ones whose names appear on The Wall. They will be scanned and preserved by the VVMF.
In addition, mementos left in Dearborn will be delivered to the VVMF.