Replica of Vietnam memorial will visit Durant - - Texoma news, weather and sports

Replica of Vietnam memorial will visit Durant

The Wall that Heals is a traveling three-quarter replica of the Vietnam Veteran Memorial The Wall that Heals is a traveling three-quarter replica of the Vietnam Veteran Memorial

DURANT, Okla. -- Vietnam veterans are honored and respected for their sacrifices.

More than 58,000 service members lost their lives in the Southeast Asia conflict.

A memorial dedicated to those brave Americans is headed to Texoma. The Wall That Heals is a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. It travels the country so that everyone can have a chance to pay their respects.

"Memory: It's a magical power," said Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient Daniel Earley. "Memory will take you anywhere in the past that you want to go."

The memory of the Vietnam War and of fallen comrades is still fresh in the mind of many veterans, their friends, and family members.

"The Vietnam War was different than any other in that the vets were not honored the way they should have been when they came back," said Three Valley Museum director and curator Nancy Ferris.

Those veterans will be honored in Durant when The Wall That Heals arrives next May.

"It's an emotional and reverent experience," said Durant Mayor Jerry Tomlinson.

"It's just a very personal thing for me to be able to bring this wall here and kind of show my respect and reverence to them," Ferris added.

Since its debut in 1996, The Wall That Heals has traveled to more than 500 U.S. communities. In 2019, the exhibit has 32 cities on its itinerary, including Durant.

"When a Vietnam veteran looks at that wall and looks at those names... that name and those letters...they turn to a memory, they turn to a face, because every Vietnam veteran knows at least one name on that wall, and some of us know multiple names on that wall," Earley said.

"I personally look for the 'Tomlinson' name, and found, I believe, eight or nine of those Tomlinsons that served and died in Vietnam," the mayor said. "It's pretty emotional."

"They're going to be able to come and see the wall, and they'll be able to reflect back on those memories, and they will be able to do some healing within theirselves as well," Earley added.

The healing wall also focuses on education, reminding students and visitors the story of the war and of those who served.

"We have got to keep educating our children and ourselves as well of what happened back during that time," Earley said. "That way, maybe we can prevent wars in the coming years with this."

The Wall That Heals will be in Durant at the Durant Sports Complex on May 9-12. It will be open 24 hours a day, and no admission is charged.

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