Traveling Vietnam Wall That Heals Makes Stops in Illinois This Summer

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LEROY – The Wall That Heals will be making five stops in Illinois over the summer.

The Wall is a traveling version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It is a 250-feet long chevron-shaped replica of the original monument. The replica also contains all 53,253 names that originally appear on the memorial.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) built the wall and unveiled it on Veterans Day 1996. According to The Wall's site, it has visited “more than 400 cities and towns throughout the nation.”

“Taking The Wall That Heals on the road gives thousands more veterans and their family members an opportunity to see the Wall and honor those who have served and sacrificed so much,” said Jim Knotts, CEO of VVMF.

“It helps veterans from all of America's conflicts to find healing and a powerful connection through their common military experiences,” Knotts continued.

There is also a mobile education center that displays pictures of the service members and other information about the Vietnam War.

One of the most central locations in The Wall's Illinois tour is LeRoy, Illinois.

The Wall That Heals will be making its way to LeRoy as part of the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. It will be set up in Kiwanis Park in downtown LeRoy from July 23 to July 26, 2015. The traveling memorial will be on display 24 hours a day, and it is open free to the public.

The opening ceremony will start at 7 PM on Thursday, July 23. Hundreds of area veterans will escort the wall to the site. Volunteers are also going to be escorting the memorial via Interstate 74 on Tuesday, July 21. Those interested in being a part of the escort should report to the Farm & Fleet at 2701 North Cunningham Avenue in Urbana, Illinois, by 9 AM for staging.

The Veterans History Project will also be collecting private stories in the basement of the American legion across from Kiwanis Park. The legion's address is 100 North Main Street. Volunteers will also be setting up a display of 100 American Flags to honor veterans with ties to the surrounding communities. Contact Chuck Franklin at 309-962-9155 for information regarding the flags.

Medals, memorabilia and submarine models will also accompany the memorial.

A candlelight closing ceremony will take place at approximately 9 PM on Sunday, July 26.

Businesses, individuals and veterans' organizations statewide interested in getting involved by donating time, services and financial support can contact Pam Wey at leroywallvolunteers@frontier.com.

Other information on The Wall That Heals Illinois stops in Hoffman Estates, Watseka, Jacksonville and Rock Island can be found at http://www.vvmf.org/2015-twth-tour.

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