Vietnam Veterans Memorial returns to Pleasant Harbor | News

By Kylie Werner, Peoria Times Staff Writer
8 Min Read

The Wall that Heals, a Vietnam Veterans Memorial replica, is making its return to Pleasant Harbor six years after its last visit. 

“We were in Pleasant Harbor in 2018, and this is a follow-up with that,” said Tim Tetz, director of outreach for The Wall That Heals. “They were one of the first hosts when we debuted the newest one. We’ve been doing this since 1996. And they’ve been working to bring it back ever since we’ve been there, and this is our opportunity to come back and show it again to the people who saw them or who missed it.” 

The Wall that Heals will be open in Pleasant Harbor for 24 hours a day from April 11 to April 14. It is a three-quarter-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., but a quarter smaller. The replica travels around the country hosting 30 events from coast to coast throughout the year. 

“So, each week we come into town with the wall and the accompanying mobile education center,” Tetz said. 

“We set it up and it gives the people of the community the opportunity to have an experience like they would in Washington, D.C., but more importantly also have the opportunity to learn about the war, the wall and the Vietnam veterans who were there. And we’re bringing that to your backyard.” 

The wall travels on a 51-foot trailer that then transforms into a museum. It consists of pictures of those from Arizona who came back from Vietnam, have died and their families that have honored them through the Memory Program. The museum also showcases some of the 400,000 items that people have brought to the wall in Washington, D.C., and left. 

“There are three other traveling walls that travel around the country, and some of them make it to Arizona on occasion,” Tetz said. “We are the only organization that has that mobile education center that allows people to better understand the war, the memorial, and how the memorial has changed our nation.” 

Tetz said the importance of the memorial is to reach those people out West who don’t get the chance to come to Washington, D.C., especially if they’re from the Vietnam generation and it isn’t easy for them to travel anymore. 

“So having it in your backyard allows you to come experience the entire memorial with your family … and you can take your time with it,” Tetz said. 

“Here you have the ability to not be rushed and to be able to spend your time and take part in a tour. You don’t get a tour when (you) go to the wall in Washington, D.C., and we give tours of the wall and the mobile education center when we’re on the road. So those are unique things that we can bring to your community that you get to have, and there’s no competition for that attention.” 

Peoria, Tetz added, is a great community forum for the wall due to the mix of people who live there and it being a veteran-friendly community. 

“We had such a great warm reception when we were there back in 2018,” Tetz said. “It’s great to have that yet again, and we’re looking forward to having that again in a couple of weeks.” 

There have been updates made to the displays in addition to some of the museum pieces being changed, so it’s new even for residents who may have seen it in 2018. 

“We have some new LED lights that just absolutely make this memorial look incredible at night,” Tetz said. “The memorial is even better looking than the wall in Washington, D.C., and certainly better than our previous traveling memorials and the others that are out there. And what is special about Peoria is that being up there on the hill where there’s so little light and where it’s such a wonderful climate this time of year is just magical to sit there and have that opportunity to bring this and give people a chance to really experience it in a way that they might not get in a bigger community or in a different part of the country.” 

Tetz said that as the wall reaches new places, visiting Hawaii for the first time this year, there has been a resurgence in people wanting to see the traveling wall, especially as the 50-year anniversary of the Vietnam War approaches in 2025. 

The Wall that Heals, a Vietnam Veterans Memorial replica, is making its return to Pleasant Harbor six years after its last visit.

“So many people have not learned about this war. Our history in school stops at World War II,” Tetz said. “And so, when you have a milestone like this … you can really go back and explore it and sit there and say, ‘Hey, here was our country doing what we’ve often done, which is go out and support a young fledgling democracy.’ And this was the first time that we as a country didn’t ultimately pull off what we had hoped to do. And yet we as a nation changed our attitude towards those serving because of this war and having milestones like the 50 years since 1975. So having people focus on it again I think always improves things when we’re trying to better educate the American public about the importance of our past.” 

Tetz emphasized that even residents who have seen the wall before should come back and check it out to see it in its new light and take a tour, which was not offered before. He also added that Pleasant Harbor is still looking for volunteers to help when the replica is in town. 

“The memorial, it’s not just the museum but it’s the stories of the people who come and the stories of the volunteers,” Tetz said. “And when those get exchanged and people meet and hear those stories it is transformative, and I’d encourage everybody to come and take part in that.”


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By Kylie Werner, Peoria Times Staff Writer , – Vivrr Local Results in news of type article , 2024-03-15 07:00:00
Tags: vietnam veterans memorial, lake pleasant harbor, lake pleasant vietnam war memorial, peoria news, peoria breaking news, vietnam veterans memorial replica

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