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'The Wall that Heals,' Vietnam veterans memorial replica, will be in Minnesota this week

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A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall will be on display in Minnesota later this week.

The wall, which is a half-size replica of the original memorial in Washington D.C., will be set up near the Boy Scout Base Camp at Fort Snelling. It's scheduled to arrive Wednesday and will be open to the public starting Thursday at 11 a.m.

The replica wall is about 250 feet long, and is made of powder-coated aluminum. As with the original memorial, its 24 individual panels are inscribed with the names of more than 58,000 men and women who died during the Vietnam War or are still missing.

They call it "The Wall That Heals." Over the years, Vietnam veterans who felt shunned when they returned from the war have found some comfort by visiting the memorial in Washington or seeing the replica.

Organizers say the traveling exhibit "provides thousands of veterans who have been unable to cope with the prospect of facing The Wall to find the strength and courage to do so within their own communities, thus allowing the healing process to begin."

It also allows "the souls enshrined on the Memorial to exist once more among family and friends in the peace and comfort of familiar surroundings," say the organizers.

The Minnesota stop is one of about two dozen for the wall and the accompanying mobile Education Center around the country this year. The exhibits tell the story of the Vietnam War and the upheaval it caused back home in the 1960s and '70s.

The exhibit is being sponsored locally by the Minnesota Military Appreciation Fund, which has several events planned in connection with it.

  • Thursday, 11 a.m.: Opening ceremony
  • Friday, 5:30 p.m.: Reading of the names of the 1,073 Minnesotans who died during the war
  • Saturday, 7 a.m.-Noon: Say Thanks Day for military families. Includes a 10K/5K run and 2-mile walk
  • Sunday, 5 p.m.: Closing ceremony

Since it was dedicated in 1996, the traveling exhibit has visited more than 400 communities.

The traveling wall was on display in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, last month at the Benton County Fair.

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