By Steve Tawa
MT. LAUREL, N.J. (CBS) — A rolling exhibit of a period of turmoil and loss in our history was being set up today in South Jersey.
The traveling Vietnam Memorial, “The Wall That Heals,” was escorted into town by the Nam Knights, a motorcycle club honoring fallen veterans and police officers.
It’s a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, and has visited 400 cities and towns since it was dedicated in 1996.
Vietnam vet Dave Walters (center of photo below) organized the event, in part to remember his four comrades from Moorestown, NJ who were lost in the conflict and have their names up on the wall.
“You can’t put it in words,” he said today. “Webster doesn’t have the words to describe it.”
Walters says he enlisted to serve his country and doesn’t regret it.
Bob Dobek, another vet, is the site manager who drove the big truck carrying the exhibit. He tells KYW Newsradio he tries to spread the memorial’s healing legacy to anyone and everyone:
“As I’ve told people, you can hate the war. Soldier, sailor, airmen, and marines, we hate the war too. We just do what we’re told.”
The wall-to-go is about 250 feet long. Like the original memorial in Washington, it’s in a chevron shape. The replica is powder-coated aluminum. The names are listed by day of casualty. The trailer opens to become a mobile museum.
Dobek says the traveling version of the memorial allows the many thousands of veterans who have been unable to cope with the prospect of going to Washington to visit it within their own communities. That, he says, helps the healing process.
“The Wall That Heals” will be open Wednesday evening through Sunday behind the YMCA building off Centerton Road, in Mt. Laurel.