A 375-foot-long traveling version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is coming to the Oklahoma State University campus, allowing area residents the opportunity to pay tribute to those who served and the more than 58,000 who died during the Vietnam War.
The Wall That Heals — which rises to an apex of 7½ feet tall at its center — will be available for viewing 24 hours a day from midnight April 18 through 3 p.m. Easter Sunday, April 21, on the intramural athletic fields west of the Colvin Center near West Hall of Fame Avenue and North Walnut Street in Stillwater. Parking will be available nearby.
“We are deeply honored to be hosting The Wall That Heals,” said Rick Hansen, a retired Marine Corps captain and coordinator of OSU’s Student Veteran Academic Services, which serves more than 600 student, faculty and staff veterans. “We invite everyone to come out and pay their respects to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
The Wall That Heals will rumble into Stillwater under motorcycle escort about 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, stopping for a brief photo opportunity on the west side of Boone Pickens Stadium.
The opening ceremony is planned for 10-11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 18 and will include an address from OSU President Burns Hargis.
A recognition ceremony for Vietnam veterans, Purple Heart recipients and gold star families (survivors of those killed in the line of military duty) is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, April 20.
A non-denominational Easter sunrise service is planned for 8 a.m. Sunday, April 21. Echoing taps will be played to close the exhibit at 2:50 p.m. that day.
There are 987 Oklahomans on The Wall That Heals, including 16 from Payne County, according to data from the National Archives.
The exhibit also includes a mobile education center where people can learn about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the lasting impacts of the Vietnam War.
The Wall That Heals is being brought to OSU by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, a nonprofit that funded the construction of the Maya Lin designed Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 1982.
The Wall That Heals has visited nearly 600 communities throughout the country since its dedication in 1996, allowing people to experience the memorial without going to the nation’s capital.
Stillwater is the eighth of 34 stops for the traveling exhibit in 2019, which honors the more than 3 million Americans who served during the Vietnam War.
“The Wall That Heals mobile exhibit provides thousands of veterans and their family members the chance to visit The Wall and honor and remember those who have served and sacrificed,” said Jim Knotts, president and CEO of the memorial fund. “Hosting the exhibit gives veterans an opportunity for healing and provides an educational experience for the whole community on the impact of the Vietnam War on America."