American Legion brings moving experience to Fort Myers

FORT MYERS — Peace, honor, remembrance. Those emotions and so many others are stirred for visitors to The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall. The mobile exhibit honors service members of the U.S. armed forces who died in the Vietnam War and those who were unaccounted for during the war, bringing the experience of the iconic Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington to a wider audience. The Rabe O. Wilkison American Legion Post 38 and the Colonial Charitable Foundation are teaming to bring the exhibit to JetBlue Park on Sept. 7 and 8, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Maureen Welsh
The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall is designed to help veterans and their loved ones heal.

The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall is a three-fifth scale of the national memorial, standing six feet tall at the center and covering about 300 feet from end to end. The names of over 58,000 valiant service members who gave their lives or remain missing are etched into the traveling monument.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall is a three-fifth scale of the national memorial, standing 6 feet tall at the center and covering about 300 feet from end to end.

Visitors can see their reflection among the engraved names as they approach the glossy black granite, a feature meant to symbolically bring the past and present together. They will be able to take a piece of paper, place it over a name and rub a wax crayon or graphite pencil over it to create a memento of their loved ones.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/ Maureen Welsh
Visitors can see their reflection among the engraved names as they approach the glossy black granite, a feature meant to symbolically bring the past and present together.

The exhibit helps veterans and family members who have been unable to visit the Vietnam Memorial in Washington connect with the strength and courage they need to do so within their own communities. It’s a chance to heal, rekindle friendships and educate newer generations.

The landscape around the traveling wall is designed to be open and approachable, with tranquil spaces where visitors can gather their thoughts. There will be fresh flowers, a reflection tent and benches placed at the periphery of the memorial, all spaces designed to promote healing.
Visit travelingwall.us to see photos of the mobile exhibit and go to centennial.legion.org to find out about other events marking the American Legion’s 100th anniversary this year.

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