More than a thousand motorcyclists revved up their engines and escorted the Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall, a replica of the original Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C., to the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, on March 2.
The replica wall, which has traveled to more than 200 cities since 1990, is housed at the museum and will be a part of it for at least the next five years. Among those cities was Columbus, where it remained for two weeks in 2010 for a ceremony honoring Vietnam veterans. Now it has come home again.
“After we saw how meaningful the wall was to our visitors, we knew this would be the perfect place to become its new home,” says Ben Williams, president and chief executive officer of the National Infantry Foundation, which helped found the museum. “This replica is every bit as impressive as the original. But it gives those who may never have the chance to travel to Washington a chance to the experience the Wall’s healing power.”
Engraved with the names of more than 58,000 servicemen and servicewomen who died or were declared missing in Vietnam, the wall is a three-fourths scale replica of the one in Washington. The wall, composed of faux granite, like its counterpart, has a reflective surface for contemplative moments.
“It took a long time, but Americans are finally appreciating what Vietnam veterans faced,” says Williams. “It’s not just in fighting the war, but in fighting public opinion on their return home. This memorial makes certain their sacrifices will never be forgotten.”