The Wall That Heals, a three-quarter-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, is coming to Pinal County for the first time in March.
It will be on display March 7-10 at Dave White Park, 2121 N. Thornton Road, Casa Grande.
HOHP – Honoring/Hiring/Helping Our Heroes of Pinal County – has worked with the communities of Maricopa, Eloy, Casa Grande, Coolidge, Florence and San Tan Valley as well as all veterans organizations from around the county to bring the wall to Dave White Park in Casa Grande.
“Last year in the summer, I saw that the Wall That Heals was in Oro Valley,” said Kim Vandenberg of HOHP’s Eagles Landing Veteran Center. “I have seen the real wall three times in D.C., so I headed over there to see it. It was just as moving as the real wall to me.”
She picked up brochures and sent in an application to have a future wall visit come to Pinal County. It was chosen out of 135 applications, the site was vetted, she had to take photos of the park and be interviewed twice.
Organizers had to raise $10,000 to pay for the exhibit and a little extra for other expenses like port-a-potties. The City of Maricopa became an Elite Sponsor by donating $1,000.
This year, the wall’s first stop will be in San Antonio, Texas, and then it will come to Casa Grande. March 5, the wall will receive a full escort from Eloy to Dave White Park. March 6, organizers will spend putting up the display, which will include an education center and the Eagle One mobile veterans center.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the wall will be open 24 hours a day. The two south parking lots at the park will be set aside for those coming to see the wall.
“It’s once in a lifetime,” Vandenberg said. “A lot of people can’t fly to D.C. There was one veteran who said, ‘The wall’s coming a long way to see me, so I’m going to go see it.’ I hope everyone will come and honor all the guys and women who died. There are still so many who didn’t come home or are still missing in action.”
Thursday and Friday, school groups will be coming to see the wall. Friday at 7 p.m. there will be a candlelight vigil with bagpipes. Saturday at 10 a.m., there will be a remembrance ceremony, including the reading of the 37 Pinal County service members who died, and a pinning of any Vietnam War-era veterans.
Sunday at 2 p.m. will be the closing ceremony. The exhibit will close at 3 p.m.
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