Vietnam Veterans Memorial Heads to Iowa for the First Time

The Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, is currently traveling the country to honor Vietnam veterans. The memorial arrived in Iowa this morning where it was greeted by hundreds of citizens, a fly-over by the National Guard, a 21 gun salute, and an hour-long opening ceremony.

Radio Iowa reports that after the opening ceremony there was a reading of all 58,000 names of the servicemen and women who died or went missing in Vietnam. The readings were done by volunteers from the community.

The replica is about half the size of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It measures eight-feet high and 240-feet long. The Wall of Dignity will be in Des Moines, Iowa, until Sunday. It will then head down south to Louisiana.

The Pilot reports that the Vietnam Veterans Foundation is trying to collect a photo of each person named on The Wall. The National Call for Photos, which was launched in 2009, will have a scanner set up at the wall for friends and family to scan photos of their loves ones.

Steve Mulcahy, the chief service representative for Iowa’s Vietnam Veterans of America chapter, said:

“This is a chance for the community to show that they still care, and that they care about their warriors from all the wars who have defended this country. I think that’s especially important now that we have a whole new generation of veterans. We want to help those kids adjust.”

The Wall of Healing replica was created in 1990 and has visited more than 225 cities. This weekend marks the first time that the exhibit has been shown in Iowa.