The Wall That Heals Comes to the Inland Empire
The March Field Air Museum will be hosting a visit of the “Wall That Heals” from March 27 thru April 1, 2012. The half scale replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC will be on display on museum grounds twenty four hours a day for the public to visit and pay tribute. The “Wall That Heals” was developed by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. Viewing of the walk is free to the public.
The replica is complete with the 58,249 names of those killed or missing in action from the war. The memorial is 250 feet in length and like the original in Washington, erected in chevron-shape. Many of our local citizens have never had to the opportunity to visit Washington and see the memorial firsthand, so this will provide them with this unique experience.
During the war, 5,569 Californians alone lost their lives. It is also an opportunity for our local schools to engage their students in an American history lesson as the wall is accompanied by a Traveling Museum and Information Center. When emptied, the 53-foot trailer that carries The Wall That Heals exhibition from town to town becomes a mobile museum. The exterior sides of the trailer open to reveal information cases displaying photos of service members whose names are found on The Wall and letters left at the Memorial as remembrances. The information cases also feature memorabilia, which tells the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the era surrounding the conflict, as well as computers to help locate names on The Wall. The Museum also includes a map of Vietnam and a chronological overview of the conflict in Vietnam. The Museum helps many visitors, particularly students, to put American experiences in Vietnam in a historical and cultural context.
An Information Center is also part of the display and is a place where visitors can find names, either in a Directory of Names or by asking one of the volunteers working the computers. A variety of other useful materials, such as a book about MIAs, is also available to assist visitors in their search. Entries in the printed directory are in alphabetical order, making it easy to locate a specific name. Each entry is followed by a panel and line number to show where the name can be found on The Wall.
During the war, the city of San Bernardino suffered the greatest per capita losses of any Southern California community. Those grieving San Bernardino and other local residents who were unable to visit the original wall in Washington, D.C. may now gain closure through the opportunity to see the Wall That Heals.
Visitors are encouraged to bring flowers and memorabilia to place at the Wall. After the event, memorabilia left at the Wall will be collected and stored by the March Field Air Museum for use in future exhibits and observations.
The vehicle which transports the wall will be escorted to the March Field Air Museum by the Patriot Guard Riders, with over 100 motorcyclists participating. The procession will depart the truck stop at the Milliken Avenue exit of the 10 Freeway at 9 am on March 26, and will proceed to the Museum via 15S, 91E, 60E and 215S Freeways, arriving at 10 am. The Patriot Guard Riders attend the funerals of US armed forces members, firefighters, and police at the invitation of the deceased’s family.
The Wall That Heals display will officially open on Tuesday March 27, with a Solemn Ceremony at 10 am. During the week, the names of the fallen will publicly be read from 8AM to 8PM. On Saturday, March 31, the museum will host its third annual “Welcome Home Vietnam Day” where local Vietnam Vets will be honored with a program that begins at 1 PM. A free lunch for Vietnam Veterans and their families will be offered from 11 am to 12:45 pm. The program will feature recollections by Vietnam Vet Dick Miller, followed by an open mic for remarks from other Vietnam Veterans in attendance.
During the event the museum will officially dedicate its latest major exhibit, a full scale replica of a Vietnam Firebase, complete with the aircraft, vehicles and structures that were typically found in these installations. The ¾ acre display replicates a Vietnam era Fire Base / Forward Operating Location complete with period helicopters including an AH-1 Cobra gunship, UH-1 Iroquois, U-21 Shawnee and an OH-6 Cayuse. The display includes representational sandbag defensive walls, revetments and bunkers as well as a Base Operations Center, living quarters and entry control point. A Flight Control Tower, 2 ½-ton cargo truck and utility vehicles of the period contribute to the visitor’s immersion into the primitive world of a Fire Base.
The March Field Air Museum is located adjacent to March Air Reserve Base, at 22550 Van Buren Blvd., east of the intersection of Van Buren Blvd. and the 215 Freeway.
The Wall That Heals is open free to the public and is accessible 24 hours a day during its stay. Regular museum admission will be charged for access to the museum with the exception of Welcome Home Vietnam Vets Day, March 31 when the museum is open FREE of charge to VIETNAM VETS and their immediate families
Daily admission price: 11 yrs + $10, 5-11yrs $5, under 5 free. Annual family membership available for $65. The museum is open daily from 9am-4pm and is located at 22550 Van Buren Blvd, Riverside CA 92518.
For further restoration information, and interviews with key personnel please contact the Executive Director of the March Field Air Museum, Patricia Korzec at 951.902.5599.