WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) will unveil an all new The Wall That Heals mobile exhibit for its 2018 tour. The Wall That Heals honors the more than three million Americans who served in the U.S. Armed forces in the Vietnam War and it bears the names of the more than 58,000 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.
"After several years of planning, we are thrilled to take the new The Wall That Heals exhibit on the road for the first time for the public to experience. Through The Wall That Heals we are able to return the names home to communities across the country and allow Vietnam veterans and their family members who cannot make it to Washington, D.C. the opportunity to see The Wall. It gives communities a teaching moment for younger generations on why we should honor those who have served and sacrificed so much," said Jim Knotts, president and CEO of VVMF. "We couldn't have done this without our presenting sponsor, USAA, and our other generous sponsors and all of the individual donors who contributed to this effort."
USAA will give its employees in San Antonio a private viewing of the mobile Education Center exhibits before The Wall That Heals makes its first stop of the year in Portland, Texas where the new Wall replica will be on public display for the first time beginning March 1.
"The Wall is a great way to help more people gain awareness of the impact of the Vietnam War and how many American servicemembers lost their lives as part of this conflict," said Eric Engquist, vice president of affinity management at USAA. "USAA is proud to be the presenting sponsor of The Wall That Heals."
In November, Creatacor, Inc. of Clifton Park, New York was selected to produce The Wall replica and mobile Education Center. Creatacor's design cohesively took the artistry and design elements of one of the most visited memorials in Washington, D.C. and replicated it in order to travel throughout the nation to nearly 40 communities each year.
"We are honored that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund chose us to create their new Wall replica and mobile education exhibit," said Will Farmer, Creatacor COO. "Our staff understands what an impact the Vietnam Veterans Memorial has on its visitors and we jumped at the chance to build something that honors veterans and brings communities together. We are proud to say that Creatacor built this exhibit."
About The Wall replica
The three-quarter scale Wall replica, produced by Creatacor, is 375 feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point. With the new replica at this size, visitors will be able to experience The Wall rising above them as they walk towards the apex, a key feature of the design of The Wall in D.C.
Like the original Memorial, The Wall That Heals is erected in a chevron-shape and for the first time in the history of The Wall That Heals, visitors will be able to do name rubbings of individual service member's names on The Wall.
The replica is constructed of Avonite, a synthetic granite, and its 144 individual panels are supported by an aluminum frame. Avonite was chosen for its reflective quality, durability, and weight.
Through a yearlong process of reviewing the names on The Wall in Washington, D.C., VVMF produced the first computerized database of its kind with every name and symbol currently found on the Memorial. This data became the foundation for a replication of The Wall in D.C., only at a three-quarter scale. The engraver – H. Loeb Corporation of New Bedford, Mass. – used a CNC routing machine to engrave the more than 58,000 names, at times working multiple shifts to meet production deadlines.
Modern LED lighting was selected with the advice and consultation of Hartranft Lighting Design. The LED lighting from the top of The Wall will provide better readability of The Wall at night. While similar lighting existed on the previous version, modern light options coupled with unique framework and design will guarantee visitors aren't overwhelmed by the lights.
About the mobile Education Center
The Wall That Heals is transported from community to community in a 53-foot trailer. When parked, the trailer opens with exhibits built into its sides, allowing it to serve as a mobile Education Center telling the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the divisive era in American history.
The mobile Education Center displays includes: digital photo displays of "Hometown Heroes" - service members whose names are on The Wall that list their home of record within the area of a visit; digital photo displays of Vietnam veterans from the local area honored through VVMF's In Memory program which honors veterans who returned home from Vietnam and later died as a result of their service; video displays that teach about the history and impact of The Wall and of the collection of items left at The Wall in D.C.; educational exhibits told through items in the collection; a map of Vietnam and a chronological overview of the Vietnam War.
The new mobile Education Center exhibit was produced by VVMF staff and Creatacor. After developing new displays for VVMF in 2016 and 2017, Creatacor took that knowledge and expanded on it creating an exhibit space that gives visitors a better understanding of the legacy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the collection of items left at The Wall.
The mobile Education Center is prototypical of the future Education Center at The Wall. VVMF is in the fundraising stages to build the Center that will be an interactive learning facility on the National Mall. The Education Center will feature the faces and stories of the more than 58,000 men and women on The Wall and honor America's Legacy of Service, including those serving in our nation's Armed Forces today. To learn more about the campaign to build the Education Center at The Wall, please visit: www.buildthecenter.org.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the history of The Wall That Heals
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is one of the most visited memorials in our nation's capital, with more than 5.2 million visitors each year. However, many Americans are not able to visit what has become known to many as "The Wall." The Wall That Heals made its debut in 1996 and since then has been on display in nearly 600 U.S. communities in addition to an April 1999 tour of the Four Provinces of Ireland and a visit to Canada in 2005. Last year alone, more than 250,000 people visited The Wall That Heals. Hosting The Wall That Heals provides a community with a multi-day experience that includes an educational experience for local schools and organizations on the history of the Vietnam era and The Wall.
VVMF coordinates local stops of The Wall That Heals and the accompanying mobile Education Center. The 2018 tour schedule and more information can be found at: www.thewallthatheals.org. The 2018 national The Wall That Heals tour is hauled through a partnership with the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and generously sponsored by: USAA, FedEx, and GEICO.
VVMF wishes to give special thanks to the efforts of Matt Herriges of Herriges Transport for hauling the trailer from Minnesota to New York to be outfitted with the new exhibit. VVMF is grateful to Wil-Trans Trucking for hauling The Wall That Heals from New York to Texas where the new display will be unveiled.
The USAA family of companies provides insurance, banking, investments, retirement products and advice to over 12 million current and former members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving our nation in the U.S. military or have received a discharge type of Honorable – and their eligible family members. Founded in 1922, USAA is headquartered in San Antonio. For more information about USAA, follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@USAA), or visit usaa.com.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) is the nonprofit organization that built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) in Washington, D.C. in 1982. VVMF is dedicated to honoring and preserving the legacy of service in America and educating all generations about the impact of the Vietnam War and era through programs, ceremonies and education materials.
To learn more about VVMF or to make a donation, please visit www.vvmf.org or call 202-393-0090.
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SOURCE Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund