ASHLAND • The Wall That Heals committee is asking for volunteers to help with the Vietnam Memorial Replica Wall when it is in Ashland next month and are also encouraging groups to call ahead to schedule a time for a tour.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund received 116 applications to host The Wall for 2020. The Wall That Heals mobile exhibit is a replica of The Wall in Washington, D.C. and gives veterans and their family the chance to experience The Wall without traveling to our nation’s capitol.
The Wall That Heals will visit 35 communities in 2020. Last year over 300,000 people visited The Wall. The next closest location to our area on the 2020 tour will be Cabot, Arkansas in November.
Jeanie Burton, who is in charge of the volunteer effort, said there are still several slots available for people to help. Volunteers are needed to help with parking, the Mobile Education Center, the welcome tent and The Wall. Burton said most shifts last four hours each but volunteers can sign up for as many shifts as they wish. Since The Wall is open 24 hours, people are needed both day and night.
To sign up to be a volunteer, go to signupgenuis.com. For a link to the Signup Genuis page, visit The Wall That Heals - Ashland, MS on Facebook. If you do not have access to a computer call Burton at the Benton County Library 662-224-6400 or at 662-224-4205.
T-shirts will be available for volunteers and will be passed out on Wednesday, March 11 during a training session for volunteers at 6 p.m. The committee is asking for a $15 donation to The Wall That Heals fund but it is not mandatory.
Debbie Childers has been activity soliciting school groups to come to the exhibit and has received a lot of good feedback from area schools. Mississippi is on Spring Break the week The Wall will be in Ashland but both teachers and parents are encouraged to bring students to see this important part of history.
“We encourage others to bring groups as well,” said Childers. Childers said The Wall is not just for students. She says the exhibit is a wonderful opportunity for church groups and civic groups.
If you have a group that would like to visit The Wall, contact Childers at 662-224-4881 to schedule a tour. Scheduling is not necessary but it give the committee an idea of how many people to expect so they can have enough volunteers on had at the scheduled time.
Committee head Meg Thomas said that when The Wall arrives on Tuesday, March 10 there will be a small welcome ceremony to thank the escorts for bring The Wall.
The motorcycle escort will lead The Wall to Ashland Tuesday. The escort will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the Pontotoc Ag Center in Pontotoc and will travel up MS 15 through Ecru, New Albany, Blue Mountain, Ripley and Falkner. At Falkner, the escort will take MS 370 to Ashland. A tentative list of times The Wall will go through these communities will be published next week. If you would like to be a part of the escort, contact Mike Felton at 662-223-0539.
On Saturday, March 14 at 10 a.m., there will be a ceremony to recognize all Vietnam veterans, the ones on The Wall and the ones attending. Columbus Air Force Base will flyover during the ceremony.
The replica wall will be open from 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, March 12 through 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 15.
The exhibit includes a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial along with a mobile education center. The traveling exhibit is 375 feet in length and stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point and honors the more than three million Americans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces in the Vietnam War. The Wall consists of 58,276 names of servicemen and women who died in Vietnam.
For more information on The Wall That Heals, contact Meg Thomas at 901-359-4360.