Merced County Times Newspaper
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Vietnam Veterans Memorial replica on way to Merced

Volunteers needed for ‘Wall That Heals’

 

The Wall That Heals — a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., along with a mobile Education Center — is coming to Merced on March 28 for a four-day community event on the Merced College campus.

The memorial, to be located at the corner of Yosemite Avenue and M Street, will be open 24 hours, and it will be free to the public.

The Wall That Heals honors the more than 3 million Americans who served in the U.S. Armed forces in the Vietnam War, and it bears the names of the 58,281 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.

A great effort to bring the wall to Merced has been made by the Merced Sunrise Rotary as part of a District 5220 community service project. The local Rotary club is the only one in the nation to host this event, and it will be the memorial’s only visit to Northern California in 2024.

The entire memorial is transported from community to community in a 53-foot trailer. When parked, the trailer opens with exhibits built into its sides, allowing it to serve as a mobile Education Center telling the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the divisive era in American history.

The three-quarter scale Wall replica is 375 feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point. Visitors will experience The Wall rising above them as they walk towards the apex, a key feature of the design of The Wall in D.C.

Visitors are able to do name rubbings of individual service member’s names on The Wall.

The mobile Education Center exhibit includes digital photo displays of “Hometown Heroes” — service members whose names are on The Wall that list their home of record within the area of a visit. There will also be digital photo displays of Vietnam veterans from the local area who returned home from Vietnam and later died. The exhibits also tell the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the era surrounding the conflict, and are designed to put American experiences in Vietnam in a historical and cultural context.

The Wall That Heals is being brought to Merced by Mike and Lori Gallo, and Linda and Kenny Jelacich, and the Peter J. Gallo Memorial Foundation (presenting sponsors) and Merced Sunrise Rotary in continued partnership with Merced College.

“Thank you for bringing The Wall that Heals to Merced and the Central Valley; giving us the opportunity to honor the memory and selfless sacrifice of all those who were killed in action, including our brother Peter J. Gallo, while serving our country in Vietnam,” said Mike Gallo, CEO of Joseph Gallo Farms and Joseph Farms Cheese. “For my sister Linda Jelacich, her husband Kenny, and my wife Lori and I, serving our family, friends, community and country is of paramount importance.  We are honored to sponsor this event and encourage everyone to continue to take care of our veterans and all first responders who do so much for others.”

 

Schedule of Events
  • March 26 — Arrival of The Wall That Heals at Merced College. A motorcycle escort from Atwater to Merced is being planned between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Those bikers who want to participate can contact Adam Conour at (209) 626-9906.
  • March 27 — Assembly of The Wall That Heals at Merced College, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • March 28 — Opening Ceremony, 10 a.m.
  • March 29 — National Vietnam War Veterans Day ceremony, 10 a.m.; Candlelight Ceremony, 6:30 p.m.
  • March 30 — Visitors and tours.
  • March 31 — Closing Ceremony, 1:30 p.m.

 

Volunteers Needed!

Rotarians, family members, friends, and community partners are all welcome to participate as volunteer wall docents, tent helpers and set-up workers. Please sign up for this extraordinary experience. More volunteers are needed to handle the expected number of visitors.

Use this online link to sign up:

https://signup.com/client/invitation2/secure/1172395060048/false#/invitation

More information about the entire event, and volunteering can be found at the website: thewallthatheals-merced.com.

Additional questions: Contact Darrell Cherf at (209) 777-8787, or email: [email protected].

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