More than 350 cities and towns have already been visited by the Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Museum, and now Richland will be included. From November 1 through November 4 Gull Lake Community Schools Foundation will be hosting The Wall that Heals on the Gull High School west lawn.
For those who don’t know what The Wall that Heals is, it’s a half scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. Unveiled on Veterans Day, 1996, the wall is designed so that the souls of the fallen whose names are inscribed on it can exist among friends and family in peace and comfort.
A lot went into of getting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Museum to come through our town. Linda Engle, member of the Gull Lake Community School Foundation, is part of the reason for it coming to Richland.
“I was watching the founder of the Traveling Vietnam Veteran Memorial and Museum talking on television from New York, and I got so enthused,” Engle said. “When the veterans returned from Vietnam they weren’t treated very well and this seemed like a place where the veterans could be remembered. The founder on television seemed to be so enthused by it, I felt like I had to have it. I exceeded the amount of money we needed to raise to get the Vietnam Memorial to come here, and I’m happy to be able to bring something like this to our community.”
Getting the Memorial to come to Gull Lake didn’t come free for the Gull Lake Community Schools Foundation.
“The basic cost was $5,000 but there were also additional fees to pay for lodging, the driver, and making fliers and advertising for the actual event. We have 25 different sponsors who are donating funds to help in the process,” said Kelley Baldwin, one of the people involved in getting the Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Museum to come to Gull Lake.
To support the fallen heroes, there will be a welcome parade for the Vietnam Memorial on Tuesday, October 30. The parade will begin around noon and travel north on Sprinkle to Gull Road, making its way toward Richland around 1 p.m. The opening ceremony will be Thursday, November 1, at 10 a.m. The event will last until the closing ceremony, which will be held on Sunday, November 4 at 4 p.m.
The Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Museum is free of charge and open to the public.
Complimentary dinner for veterans and their families will be given on Saturday, November 3 at 4-7 p.m. email for complimentary tickets at Gull LakeWall@yahoo.com
For more information visit www.glcsf.org, email or call (269)488-5014.
By Katie Curtenius