Vermonters are pausing to reflect on the sacrifices of military personnel who served in Vietnam, and those who lost their lives there.
"The Wall That Heals" tour has stopped at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction. The tour is a project by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the same non-profit organization that built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.
The group has a traveling one-half scale replica of the memorial. The more than 58,000 names that are on the full-sized wall are on the touring version, too, in the same layout. The tour includes information about the names on the wall as well as on its legacy and impact on America. It was conceived as a way for people around the country to pay their respects even if they cannot travel to the nation's capital, organizers said Thursday.
"I hope they walk away having time to reflect," Tim Tetz of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund said of visitors to the touring wall. "Reflect on the cost and the sacrifice for our freedoms, and reflect on some buddies they left behind in Vietnam, or some friends whose names they haven't seen since high school. I hope they realize these people gave all for our country, and realize that touches each and every community in our nation."
Tetz noted the wall is open 24 hours a day, with LED lights and an honor guard posted through the night. The wall will remain on view at the Champlain Valley Expo through late Sunday afternoon.
VFW Post 6689 in Essex Junction, located near the fairgrounds, assisted in bringing the wall to the community. That VFW post also hosted a ceremony Thursday afternoon, which featured officials from the Vermont National Guard, Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont, leaders from Norwich University, and others who welcomed the touring wall to Vermont.
For more on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, visit this website.