- This event has passed.
The Wall That Heals
May 6 - May 9
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Betty L. Compton 276-971-1937 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Wall That Heals Opens in Grundy May 6
GRUNDY, VA (May 3, 2021) – The Wall That Heals, a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial will open to the public Thursday May 6, in Grundy at Poplar Gap Park and will remain at the park until May 9.
Opening ceremonies will get underway at 10 a.m. on May 6. Admission is free throughout the event.
Since its debut in 1996, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund exhibit has been on display in nearly 700 U.S. communities. In April 1999, The Wall That Heals was on tour of the Four Provinces of Ireland and was also in Canada in 2005. The 2021 national The Wall That Heals tour is sponsored by USAA. Through a partnership with the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), the trucking industry and Blue Beacon, the exhibit is able to travel across the country. The Grundy stop, hosted by Riding It Forward Inc., is the third stop in the 2021 tour.
A motorcycle escort is planned to lead the truck carrying the exhibit to Grundy on Tuesday, May 4.
The following day, Wednesday, May 5, will be spent setting up the exhibit for public viewing with The Wall That Heals officially opening for viewing on May 6. The Wall That Heals will be open 24 hours a day for viewing May 6-9. Taps will be played nightly at 7:30 p.m.
“We are so pleased to bring The Wall That Heals to Grundy,” said Betty Compton, president of Riding It Forward, Inc. “We have spent countless hours planning the event and in rounding up volunteers to help with making it possible for the event to be held in Grundy.”
Volunteers to work at the exhibit may still sign up at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/904094EAFAA28A1FD0-thewall for opportunities to assist those visiting the exhibit and its mobile Education Center.
“We hope that people in our community and in surrounding communities will take the time to visit The Wall That Heals and to honor and pay tribute to our Vietnam veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country whose names are memorialized on The Wall That Heals, as well as to those who served in that war and returned home,” Compton said. “This is an opportunity to provide a welcome home for them and we are so pleased to share and to be a part of bringing this one-of-a-kind exhibit and a piece of history to Grundy.”
A number of local service men’s names are found on The Wall and displayed with their faces as part of the mobile Education Center Wall of Faces. Service men from Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell and Tazewell counties, whose names are on The Wall, as well as those from Pike County in Kentucky and Mingo and McDowell counties in West Virginia are featured.
Leading up to the opening of the event Thursday, a motorcycle escort of the truck transporting the exhibit from Tazewell County to Poplar Gap Park in Buchanan County will depart from 2430 Fincastle Turnpike in Tazewell (the former McCann-Ramey car dealership location) at noon on Tuesday, May 4 and is expected to arrive at Poplar Gap Park at 1:30 p.m. on May 4. Those wishing to join the escort are asked to meet at the Fincastle Turnpike location at 11 a.m. A ride briefing will occur at 11:45 a.m. with departure set for 12 noon.
From the Tazewell location, the escort will travel to Rt. 19 South/U.S. 460 west toward Claypool Hill. At Claypool Hill, the escort will travel along Rt. 460, turning on Business Rt. 460 to travel through Cedar Bluff, passing Cedar Bluff Elementary School where students will be outside to watch the escort as it goes through their community. After going through Cedar Bluff, the escort will continue to travel on Rt. 460 west, heading to Vansant and Lovers Gap Road, State Rt. 83. Students at Twin Valley Elementary School on Rt. 460 also plan to be out watching for the escort as it passes through the Oakwood community. Once on Rt. 83, the escort and truck will travel to the top of the mountain turning right onto Southern Gap Rd., Rt. 744, following it to the Poplar Gap Park entrance. At the park entrance, the escort will stop, allowing the tractor trailer to enter the park to travel to the location set-up. After the tractor trailer has reached its destination, the escort will enter through the park gate and travel to the set-up location.
On Wednesday, work will be underway to set up The Wall and the mobile Education Center. The day will conclude with the playing of Taps at 7:30 p.m.
Jim Ray, chairman of The Wall That Heals-Grundy event, will welcome attendees to the opening ceremonies on May 6. The colors will be posted by the VFW Post 7360 Color Guard. Lonnie Perkins will perform the National Anthem. The speaker will be South Grundy Supervisor Roger Rife. Following Thursday’s opening ceremonies, the exhibit will remain open to the public until it closes on Sunday, May 9.
An honors ceremony is planned for Saturday, May 8 at 1:30 p.m. The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the local chapter of the Levisa River Daughters of the American Revolution and others will be involved in the ceremony to honor Vietnam veterans for their service.
Special speaker will be Command Sergeant Major (ret.) Jimmie W. Spencer. A native of Mobile, Ala., Spencer enlisted in the U.S. Army in December 1961. During his 32 years of active service, he held a variety of assignment with conventional forces, Special Forces and Ranger units. He retired from the U.S. Army in 1993 to assume the position of director of Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier Programs with the Association of the United States Army (AUSA). He retired from AUSA in May 2013 and currently serves as consultant with the Department of Defense commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War Commission and is a senior fellow with AUSA’s Institute of Land Warfare.
Spencer is a lifetime member of the Association of the United States Army, the Enlisted Association of the National Guard, the Army Historical Foundation, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Association, the National Infantry Association the Combat Infantry Association, the Special Forces Association, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Special Operations Centurion Club, the Vietnam Veterans of America, 1st Cavalry Division, 2nd Infantry Division, the Association of Special Operations Professionals, the 82nd and 101st Airborne Division associations, the Ranger Regiment Association and the American Legion. He is also a life member and past national president of the U.S. Army Ranger Association.
Also speaking during the honors ceremony will be Dr. Brian Wright, from Southwest Virginia Community College. Vietnam Veteran Jim Ray will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the event which will also feature a Vietnam War Commemoration pinning ceremony recognizing Vietnam veterans who served from May 1, 1955 to November 1, 1975. Special music will be provided by the Jubalaires Quartet; and Keith Stiltner will perform “Amazing Grace” on bag pipes. U.S. Army Chaplain Linda Murtala will deliver the invocation and the benediction. Members of the VFW and the American Legion will post the Colors. Parker Snead, an Eagle Scout from Troop #725 will lead, the pledge of allegiance.
A closing ceremony for the exhibit will be held on Sunday, May 9 at 1:30 p.m. A rifle volley and taps will be played. A Color Guard and representatives of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion will be part of the closing ceremony. The Wall will close at 2 p.m. and tear-down will begin to ready The Wall for transport to its next event in Tunkhannock, PA.
Platinum sponsors of the Grundy event include Consolidated Steel, Inc.; J.A. Street Charitable Foundation; Noah Horn Well Drilling, Inc.; Tom and Linda Scott; Virginia Medical & Respiratory Equipment Inc.; West River Conveyors & Machinery Co.; and Food City.
Those planning to attend the event are reminded of current state restrictions in place related to COVID-19. Masking, hand sanitizing and social distancing will be observed.
For more information on The Wall That Heals visit to Grundy, interested persons may visit the local group’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheWallThatHeals2021Grundy.