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Somerville has been announced as a host city on this year’s nationwide tour of The Moving Wall, a half-sized replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Moving Wall has been traveling to cities and towns across the country for nearly forty years to give those who can’t get to Washington a chance to experience the power of the memorial. This fall, it makes its way to Somerville for the first time, setting up in the Mass General Brigham Great Lawn at Assembly Row (399 Revolution Drive), November 10-14.
Like the original monument, The Moving Wall displays the names of more than 58,000 American service members who died in the Vietnam War. The Somerville Department of Veterans’ Services worked to bring the memorial to Somerville to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice and to give many in the community an opportunity they may never otherwise have.
“We are honored to host The Moving Wall in Somerville for the first time this year,” said Mayor Katjana Ballantyne. “This is one way we can pay our respects to our past and present service members and families and allow our younger generations to gain a new understanding of American history. Visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in person is often a profound, emotional experience, and I’m grateful to everyone who has worked so hard to deliver this opportunity to our community. I hope it brings healing to veterans and their loved ones in Somerville and beyond, and I look forward to welcoming The Moving Wall and its visitors this November.”
During its five-day stay, members of the public can visit the wall and make crayon rubbings of names. Grief counselors from the Boston Vet Center will be available, and volunteers will be onsite to assist visitors 24 hours a day. The Great Lawn on the Mass General Brigham Assembly Row campus will offer an accessible, park-like setting for reflection and contemplation with parking and lodging conveniently located nearby.
“This memorial serves as a reminder of the great sacrifices made during the Vietnam War. It’s particularly poignant because it allows people in our local communities the opportunity to pay their respects—especially those who physically or financially may not be able to make the trip to D.C.,” said Dr. Gregg Meyer, President of the Mass General Brigham Community Division and former Colonel in the United States Air Force. “As a leader in our community, and as an organization dedicated to healing, supporting, and employing our veterans, we at Mass General Brigham are honored to be able to host this important tribute.”
“The Moving Wall is intended to pay homage to these great American heroes who courageously served and fought in such divisive conflict,” said Ted Louis-Jacques, Director of Veterans’ Services. “I am thrilled to recognize the men and women who paved the way forward for future service members and remember the more than 58,000 souls who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation. Heroism comes in many forms, but to give one’s life while serving is one of the truest forms. This is a unique opportunity for us to pay our respect to our Somerville Vietnam War veterans.”
With the added distinction of hosting the wall over Veterans Day weekend, the Somerville Department of Veterans’ Services will lead the grand opening and official ceremony at the memorial on Friday, November 11. For volunteer opportunities and more information, please contact Veterans’ Services at 617-625-6600 ext. 4700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Moving Wall is more than 252 feet long from end to end and stands 6 feet tall at its highest point in the center. Its 74 separate frames display more than 58,000 names of American service members who died in the Vietnam War. The Moving Wall was built in the early 1980s by Vietnam veterans from California who sought to bring the power of the memorial in Washington, D.C., to people on the West Coast. Since then, the initiative has expanded to serve communities across the country. Today, thousands of visitors visit The Moving Wall at cities and towns around the United States to reflect and pay their respects to those who have and continue to serve. For more information, visit themovingwall.org.
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