By Greg Ellison
(March 11, 2021) Time remains to honor departed Vietnam veterans during an “In Memory” ceremony for the “Wall That Heals” traveling exhibit that will roll into the Worcester County Veterans Memorial at Ocean Pines on April 20.
Worcester Veterans Memorial Foundation Board member Larry Perrone said loved ones of local Vietnam veterans who died after returning home have until March 15 to apply for the “In Memory” program offered through the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
“The date was March 5 but it got extended,” he said.
The Wall That Heals will be on view in Ocean Pines from Thursday, April 22 through Sunday, April 25 at 2 p.m.
Measuring 375 feet in length and bearing the names of 58,279 U.S. Armed Forces members lost during the Vietnam War, the patriotic educational display is the largest of three mobile reproductions of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
“This wall is a three-quarter-size replica and is sponsored by the people who designed and funded the wall in D.C.,” he said. “There are two others that are half size.”
The nonprofit Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which built the D.C. memorial in 1982, sees to the national tours of a trio of replicas that honor the three-plus million Americans who served in Southeast Asia.
To provide historical context, the Wall That Heals display also features an “Education Center” that includes a timeline of the Vietnam War and further details about the D.C. Memorial.
“This is a traveling wall and the states basically around Washington D.C. do not get this,” he said. “This is an incredible honor.”
Perrone said organizers cited the Worcester County Veterans Memorial as a prime motivator for the Eastern Shore stopover.
“It really is because they’re impressed with our own Veterans Memorial down here,” he said. “There’s no other location in Maryland that will get the wall and it will probably never come again.”
Applications for the “In Memory” ceremony can be found at the Ocean Pines Administration Building in White Horse Park, the Ocean Pines Golf Clubhouse and area establishments including: Whisker’s Bar & Grill or Jimmy’s Barber Shop on Cathell Road, Paradise Grill And Pizzeria or Southside Deli on Nicholas Lane and DeNovo’s Trattoria on Manklin Creek Road
Applications are also available by contacting Perrone at 443-513-1407 or Marie Gilmore at 410-726-2881.
Submissions should include photographs of veterans for use in a virtual “In Memory” honor roll with typed biographical sketches fewer than 300 words also permitted.
“Their name will be included in the scroll that comes down here when the wall comes to Worcester County,” he said.
In addition to being read aloud as part of the Ocean Pines ceremony by surviving family members when possible, the names of veterans and their biographies will be posted on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial website.
Submissions will also be used for the annual “In Memory” ceremony held in D.C. and future touring exhibits.
Numerous volunteers are needed to help set up the Wall That Heals and to staff the site around the clock.
For volunteer information, email Frank Bolen at email@example.com or call 302-245-5216.
Perrone said the 50-plus foot trailer hauling the display is scheduled to arrive in Maryland from North Carolina and meet an extensive motorcade at Perdue Stadium in Salisbury on April 20.
“The tractor-trailer will be escorted by, we believe at this time, at least 200 motorcycles,” he said. “They’ll take it through Salisbury and then down Route 50 and come into Ocean Pines from 589 in the late afternoon.”
After arriving on Tuesday, the display assembly and volunteer training will take place on Wednesday in preparation for opening on Thursday.
“This is going to be quite the show,” he said.
For more information on the Worcester County Veterans Memorial Foundation or the Wall That Heals exhibit, visit www.opvets.org.
For information on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, visit www.vvmf.org or call 202-393-0090.