The Wall That Heals stood prominently in the Lynnhurst Cemetery in North Knoxville with more than 58,000 names engraved into it. The wall is a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. and since late March it’s been making its way across the country to rest in communities and provide healing to those who need it.
More than 175 motorcycles escorted The Wall That Heals into Knoxville. “It means a lot to the guys that served that I ride around with,” says Noah Allen, one of the motorcyclists. “We decided we would go as a group.”
He and nine of his friends, military veterans and supporters included, were part of the 175. They would eventually go back a number of times to visit the wall throughout its days in Knoxville. They would also guard the wall on Saturday night, something many different groups of military supporters and veterans would do to be on hand to answer questions and provide support for those viewing. A mobile education center would also be available at the site. The event was hosted by Knox County and the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1078.
“To me it’s being able to give the respect to the veterans in Vietnam that weren’t welcomed home with the open arms they should have been, yet served our country and put their lives on the line for our freedom,” Allen says. “It’s also showing rest of the veterans I know that we care and it means so much what they’ve done in sacrificing for our freedom with their lives.”
This is the 27th season that the wall has made its way across the country. At 375 feet in length and standing at 7.5 feet high at its tallest point, the wall is a reminder to all of the lives lost during the Vietnam War. “When they came back, they weren’t even treated like heroes,” Allen says. “It’s really sobering to realize how many people were over there that didn’t get to go back to their families and that sacrificed everything for us.”
Learn more at www.vvmf.org/event/The-Wall-That-Heals-Knoxville-TN.