Monday, April 28, 2008

The Wall That Heals

Through the ages walls have played an important role in the lives of humans, either as a defensive barrier or as a symbol or device of dedication.

The Great Wall of China was built to keep the Mongolian and Manchurian tribes out while the Berlin Wall was built to keep the East Berliners inside East Germany. Hadrian’s Wall was to physically mark the frontier of Roman civilization in a barbarian England, while the Aurelian Walls of Rome and the walls around numerous ancient cities were clearly built for defensive purposes. Then there are the walls from the Bible cities, Jericho and the old city of Jerusalem, which also has the Western Wall, also called the Wailing Wall, revered by Jews across the world. The Tsoi Wall in Arbat Street, Moscow is used as a wall of remembrance to the first Russian Rock legend, Victor Tsoi, while the Byker Wall is a long block of apartments/flats admired for its innovative design in the district of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. Lastly there is the theatrical wall, built from cardboard that was used by Pink Floyd during performances based on their very successful double album, The Wall.

The past week The Wall That Heals visited Danville. Ky. The “Wall” is a mobile, half-size version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, which is often simply called The Wall. It contains the names of the 58,195 people that died related to the Vietnam War between 1959 and 1975. I went to take a look and took some photos.

Apart from the official memorial monument in Washington, DC, there are two mobile walls of the memorial traveling the US. One called The Moving Wall, and another called The Wall That Heals, supported by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. There is also the Virtual Wall on the Internet, which allows people to publish poems, photos, letters, etc. in remembrance.
Searching for the name of a love one, a brother or sister, a dad or mom, a comrade lost.

Moments of remembrance and recollecting the past. More than a thousand Kentuckians died in the Vietnam War. Six soldiers from Danville and Boyle County are among the fallen Kentuckians.

The trailer with artifacts and historic details.

More artifacts with the wall of names as a backdrop.

Medals, names and dog-tags. At the Wall in Washington people leave all kinds of artifacts all the time. The National Parks rangers collects these items at the end of every day, tag it and then take it to the Archive of the memorial. From time to time some of the artifacts are on display at the American History Museum.

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