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'The Wall That Heals' Brings Vietnam Memorial Replica To North Texas

The Wall That Heals
Courtney Collins
The Wall That Heals exhibit features a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is set up in Garland through the weekend. The long, smooth wall etched with more than 58,000 names spans a section of Audubon Park in the city.

It's called The Wall That Heals, and people are encouraged to visit day or night. 

A few yards away from the wall, more than 300 American Flags are planted to honor Dallas County veterans who died in the Vietnam War.

Credit Courtney Collins / KERA News
The flags on display near The Wall That Heals in Garland that represent all of the soldiers from Dallas County who died in the Vietnam War.

Army Veteran Billy Hair said he visited for one, simple reason: "to remember the men that died over there and the 1,587 that have not been recovered,” Hair said. “They're still missing, and on the wall it designates who's home and who's not home."

Thirteen of the soldiers in Hair's Army unit were killed on a single day during the war. He made a point to find every one of their names.

“Them names on the wall. Never forget them,” Hair said.

The goal of the project is to provide thousands of veterans who have been unable to visit the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., or have had difficulty coping with the idea of facing the memorial the ability see it in their own communities.

Volunteer and Marine Corps Veteran Dan McCormack said when the wall stopped in Lewisville last year, a veteran showed up at 2 a.m., and asked if he could have one last beer with his friend.

"He sat down and he pulled two cans of beer out of his field jacket and cracked the top and offered the toast. He'd take a sip, pour a sip on the ground … and he sat there and talked with his buddy,” McCormack said. “It's probably the most moving thing I've ever witnessed in my entire life."

The Wall That Heals will be on display in Garland until Sunday at 2 p.m.

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.