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Vietnam War memorial comes to Norwalk

Participants in the procession from Sherwood Island State Park to Norwalk, and local officials, gather Tuesday in front of trailer carrying “The Wall That Heals.” (Harold F. Cobin)

NORWALK, Conn. — A traveling Vietnam War memorial, “The Wall That Heals,” came to Norwalk on a tractor trailer Tuesday, led by a motorcycle escort. The seven-foot high, 375-foot-long replica of Washington D.C.’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial contains engravings of more than 58,000 fallen servicemen’s names, including 18 Norwalkers, listed by day of casualty.

Mayor Harry Rilling noted that the country was divided by the Vietnam War and returning veterans were often treated with disrespect. “‘The Wall That Heals,’ that’s the appropriate name for this display, the wall that heals, giving them hope that people realize that what they did was for their country and for God,” he said.

Video by Harold F. Cobin at end of story.

The wall’s opening ceremony at Veterans Park from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 2, will feature remarks by Navy Cross/Purple Heart recipient Robin L. Montgomery, The Wall That Heals Norwalk Committee Chair Joseph S. Kendy Jr., and Rilling.  Music from Brien McMahon’s music department and a “Parade of Wreaths” will complement the proceedings.

Following the opening ceremony, the wall will be open for viewing around the clock through 2 p.m. Sunday June 5.  LED lighting will enable nighttime viewing.  Full details including a schedule of attendant activities is here.

Volunteers are said to be needed. For more information, click here.

Jeff DeWitt, Chairman of the Military & Veterans Liaison Committee, said Wednesday that there are, “Two different experiences going during the day and going at night. The team from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund who travel with TWTH, say the lights are brighter on this exhibit than those in Washington DC.”

Updated, 5:45 p.m., 10:27 p.m.: More information.

2 comments

Niz June 1, 2022 at 3:25 pm

Any surviving Vietnam vets are well over 65 years of age at this point. IJS wtf is the point now?? Anyhooo I hope it gives the living vets some satisfaction and that they feel proud. So many so so many passed away. Each household across this country was affected by that war & the tragic insane amount if losses. Years & money. Sadly our gov’t hasn’t learned.

Piberman June 1, 2022 at 6:23 pm

Virtually every sizable town and City along the East Coast have centrally located War Memorials. Often with engraved names of those who served and also those who “did not return”. Even small towns on the Maine coast like Camden have impressive War Memorials right in the center of town next to their library with names of those who served and those lost forever. Portsmouth, Virginia across the Elizabeth River from Norfolk goes even further and has a very impressive memorial to Confederate soldiers and sailors in a City with a large numbers of memorials to former leading citizens. One often sees families at these memorials with to their children.

Over the years various attempts have been been made to get the attention of City to get behind erecting a War Memorial centrally located, e.g. Veterans Park. There’s no shortage of veterans and others who have served willing to provide the majority of the funds needed. In a few more years we will have lost our opportunity. Without City Hall leadership to approve a suitable location and raise the call for “volunteers” we’ll loose our opportunity.

Many may not realize that CT with just 3.5 million souls has hundreds and hundreds of War Memorials. Some small towns have half a dozen or more. Norwalk is an odd man out here with but the Shea Memorial at Calf Pasture Beach and one at our City Hall entrance.
Maybe in transient City its too much to ask for our civic leaders to get behind a centrally located War Memorial worthy of our City and those who answered “the call of duty”. Maybe its a lost cause here. I remember 40 years ago when first locating to Norwalk on Memorial Day most homes displayed a large American flag outside on Memorial Day. That’s no longer the case. If we’re proud of our City we ought be proud of our nation and those who served when called upon to do so. Will City Hall “answer the call” here ? And do what’s required to authorize a War Memorial in the center of our City ?

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