ERIE — The Wall That Heals, a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will arrive in Erie this Wednesday and remain there throughout Memorial Day weekend.
The wall have a motorcycle escort from Conneaut, Ohio, which will leave at 1 p.m. Arrival of the escort at Zem Zem Shrine Club, located at 2525 W. 38th St., Erie, is expected to occur around 2 p.m. with a patriotic display of flags.
Set-up of the exhibit will occur on Thursday at 8:30 a.m., with volunteers helping to assemble the wall. The display will open Friday at 12:01 a.m. and operate 24 hours a day until 2 p.m. on May 30.
There will be a “Welcome Home” ceremony for Vietnam veterans on Friday at noon. The program will include speeches from Maj. Gen. Michael Dunlavey and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. Taps will be played honoring service members who died, and a military aircraft flyover is scheduled, weather permitting.
The exhibit is free and open to the public. Like the original memorial in Washington, The Wall That Heals is erected in a chevron shape and visitors can do name rubbings of individual service member’s names.
The replica is constructed of Avonite, a synthetic granite, and its 140 numbered panels are supported by an aluminum frame. The more-than-58,000 names were machine engraved, and modern LED lighting allows visitors to read the wall even at night.
Of the traveling Vietnam Wall exhibits throughout the United States, The Wall That Heals is the largest replica and the only one provided by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the nonprofit organization that built the original memorial.