Community members will be able to watch a convoy of trucks and escort vehicles transporting THE WALL along historic Route 66 on Tuesday, June 5. The Wall and its escorts will travel from Catoosa along Highway 66 that afternoon and is scheduled to arrive on the RSU campus around 4 p.m.
The official opening ceremony will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, June 7, and the exhibition and its accompanying education center will remain open around the clock until noon on Sunday, June 10.
A special Oklahoma Military Academy Alumni Association public celebration will be held at 9:15 a.m. on Saturday, June 9.
THE WALL THAT HEALS honors the more than three million Americans who served in the U.S. Armed forces during the Vietnam War and bears the names of the more than 58,000 men and women, including about 1,000 Oklahomans and 21 OMA cadets, who made the ultimate sacrifice during the war.
The Claremore appearance by THE WALL THAT HEALS is organized by the Oklahoma Military Academy Alumni Association and RSU. OMA, once known as the West Point of the Southwest, operated for more than five decades on what is now the RSU campus in Claremore. THE WALL THAT HEALS is being presented in conjunction with the group’s annual reunion held each June.
The Claremore stop will be among the first to host the new, larger THE WALL THAT HEALS exhibit, which includes a three-quarter scale Wall replica that is 375 feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point. With the new replica at this size, visitors will be able to experience THE WALL rising above them as they walk towards the apex, a key feature of the design of THE WALL in D.C. For the first time in the history of THE WALL THAT HEALS, visitors also will be able to do name rubbings of individual service member’s names on THE WALL.
“Bringing THE WALL THAT HEALS to Claremore allows us to honor our OMA Alumni who served during the war, while also providing the opportunity for area veterans and family members to experience the full power of THE WALL THAT HEALS,” said Phil Goldfarb, President of the OMA Alumni Association.
The exhibit includes THE WALL replica and a mobile Education Center comprised of: digital photo displays of “Hometown Heroes” – service members whose names are on THE WALL that list their home of record within the area of a visit; digital photo displays of Vietnam veterans from the local area honored through VVMF’s In Memory program which honors veterans who returned home from Vietnam and later died as a result of their service; video displays that teach about the history and impact of THE WALL and of the collection of items left¬ at THE WALL in D.C.; educational exhibits told through items in the collection; a map of Vietnam and a chronological overview of the Vietnam War.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is one of the most visited memorials in our nation’s capital, with more than 5.2 million visitors each year. However, many Americans have not been able to visit what has become known to many as “THE WALL.” THE WALL THAT HEALS made its debut in 1996 and since then has been on display in nearly 600 U.S. communities in addition to an April 1999 tour of the Four Provinces of Ireland and a visit to Canada in 2005. Last year alone, more than 250,000 people visited THE WALL THAT HEALS. Hosting THE WALL THAT HEALS provides a community with a multi-day experience that includes an educational experience for local schools and organizations on the history of the Vietnam era and THE WALL.
“We are thrilled to share the new THE WALL THAT HEALS exhibit with the public this year,” said Jim Knotts, president and CEO of VVMF. “Through THE WALL THAT HEALS, we are able to return the names home to communities across the country and allow Vietnam veterans and their family members who cannot make it to Washington, D.C. the opportunity to see THE WALL. It gives communities a teaching moment for younger generations on why we should honor those who have served and sacrificed so much.”
VVMF coordinates local stops of THE WALL THAT HEALS and the accompanying mobile Education Center. The current schedule and more information can be found at www.thewallthatheals.org. The 2018 national THE WALL THAT HEALS tour is hauled through a partnership with the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and the trucking industry and generously sponsored by USAA, FedEx and GEICO.
Locally, the OMA Alumni Association is raising funds to support the Claremore presentation of THE WALL THAT HEALS with remaining proceeds creating student scholarships for the Oklahoma Army National Guard’s Guard Officer Leadership Development (GOLD) program at RSU, one of only two such programs at Oklahoma universities.
Group and individual volunteer opportunities also will be available throughout the exhibit’s Claremore stop. For more information on supporting the Claremore appearance of THE WALL THAT HEALS through financial support or volunteer service, please contact Dr. Danette Boyle, Executive Director of the OMA Alumni Association, at 918-343-6888 or [email protected]
The three-quarter scale Wall replica is 375 feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point. Like the original Memorial, THE WALL THAT HEALS is erected in a chevron-shape and for the first time in the history of THE WALL THAT HEALS, visitors will be able to do name rubbings of individual service member’s names on THE WALL.
The replica is constructed of Avonite, a synthetic granite, and its 144 individual panels are supported by an aluminum frame. Machine engraving of the more than 58,000 names along with modern LED lighting provide better readability of THE WALL day and night.
The names on THE WALL THAT HEALS replicate the names on THE WALL in Washington, D.C. As on THE WALL, the names are listed alphabetically by day of casualty. Beginning at the center/apex, the names start on the East Wall (right-hand side) working their way out to the end of that wing, picking up again at the far end of the West Wall (left-hand side) and working their way back in to the center/apex.
A new 53-foot trailer transports THE WALL THAT HEALS from community to community. When parked, the trailer opens with exhibits built into its sides, allowing it to serve as a mobile Education Center. This unique educational experience gives visitors a better understanding of the legacy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the collection of items left at THE WALL.
The mobile Education Center displays includes: digital photo displays of “Hometown Heroes” – service members whose names are on THE WALL that list their home of record within the area of a visit; digital photo displays of Vietnam veterans from the local area honored through VVMF’s In Memory program which honors veterans who returned home from Vietnam and later died as a result of their service; video displays that teach about the history and impact of THE WALL and of the collection of items left¬ at THE WALL in D.C.; educational exhibits told through items in the collection; a map of Vietnam and a chronological overview of the Vietnam War.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) is the nonprofit organization that built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (THE WALL) in Washington, D.C. in 1982. VVMF is dedicated to honoring and preserving the legacy of service in America and educating all generations about the impact of the Vietnam War and era through programs, ceremonies and education materials. To learn more about VVMF, please visit www.vvmf.org.
The Oklahoma Military Academy operated in Claremore from 1919 to 1971, when the school transitioned to a community college and later became the regional university now known as Rogers State University. OMA was recognized as “The West Point of the Southwest” with more than 10,000 men and women attending the school during its distinguished history. The OMA Alumni Association was formed to preserve the school’s legacy. OMA Alumni have been instrumental in providing support to RSU, including both scholarships and development of the Claremore campus. To learn more, visit www.rsu.edu/OMA.