(Update: Added video, visitor comments, veterans)
LA PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Healing Wall, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, is now installed in La Pine and had its first full day on display Thursday, full of emotions would expect such an event, and is seen every day at the memorial in the capital of our country.
The wall is a three-quarter replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, and measures 7.5 feet high and 375 feet long for community members to engage.
It bears the engraved names of more than 58,000 men and women who lost their lives during the Vietnam War.
” It is very moving. It’s a very moving experience, âsaid Mike Casciato, a Vietnam veteran.
Casciato was among hundreds of people who stopped Thursday to visit the Wall, which made La Pine its home until Sunday.
People from across the state came to share kind words and memories of those whose names are engraved on the wall.
James McNamara, an Army veteran, had a list of names of friends he wanted to pay tribute to.
âThey were very good people, and they died thinking they were; we were on a mission and doing what we were supposed to do. We did our best. McNamara said.
Some visitors were visibly moved after finding the names of their loved ones engraved on the wall. A few visitors told NewsChannel 21 that they couldn’t believe there were more than 58,000 names on the wall panels.
Schoolchildren were also seen learning about the history of the Vietnam War through educational tours organized by volunteers.
Casciato said bringing the wall to La Pine helps heal those who served in Vietnam and were not always treated well when they returned home.
âI remember when I came back it was not pleasant. For all these 58,000 deaths, they finally get their due, âsaid Casciato.
McNamara was able to locate the 25 names of Vietnam veterans he knew.
âThey were one of the last special forces to go from Okinawa to Vietnam, and they were probably two of the last people killed there,â Casciato said.
If you are visiting the Healing Wall, you can first stop in a tent and talk to a volunteer who will help you locate the names of your loved ones on the wall panels.
There is also a mobile education center that the public can view until Sunday. The exhibit, at Frontier Day grounds on Sixth Street, is open 24 hours a day.