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Vietnam Veterans Memorial display coming to McHenry County

JOHNSBURG – McHenry County residents will have a chance to see "The Wall That Heals" portable Vietnam Veterans Memorial in May.

"The Wall That Heals" is a half-scale mobile replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The 250-foot-long wall honors the more than three million Americans who served in the military during the Vietnam War and features the names of more than 58,000 people who died in Vietnam.

A mobile education center also is featured in the exhibit. It includes digital displays; letters and memorabilia representative of items left at the Washington, D.C., wall; a map of Vietnam; and a chronological overview of the war.

"I do not believe that the exhibit has ever been in McHenry County, which made this an exciting project to bring this exhibit to our community for the many residents who cannot travel to Washington, D.C., to see the wall," said local organizer Sandy Leone. "We hope to [give] veterans and loved ones a healing experience and additionally introduce an educational experience of the Vietnam War to our younger generation."

The wall will be at McHenry Township Park, 3703 N. Richmond Road, Johnsburg, from May 24 to 28, Memorial Day. It will be open 24 hours and free to the public.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund chose McHenry Township to appear on the 2018 tour out of more than 100 applications. The tour will stop at just less than 40 communities around the nation in 2018, including one other Illinois town.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., sees about 5.3 million visitors a year and is one of the most visited memorials in the capitol. The traveling exhibit aims to give more people a chance to get a glimpse of the site, according to the memorial fund’s website.

“We received more than 100 applications to host "The Wall That Heals" in 2018, and we are excited to announce the cities that we’ve selected as hosts for next year. "The Wall That Heals" mobile exhibit provides thousands of veterans and their family members the chance to visit the wall and honor and remember those who have served and sacrificed,” Jim Knotts, president and CEO of VVMF said in a statement. “Hosting the exhibit gives veterans an opportunity for healing and provides an educational experience for the whole community on the impact of the Vietnam War on America.”

The Township currently is seeking sponsors and volunteers for this event. Those who are interested should contact Craig Adams at supervisor@mchenrytownship.com.

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