A black eighteen-wheeler will soon roll into town with an escort. On the trailer’s front end are the words “The War and the Wall,” on its back end, “The Wall That Heals.” Along the wall’s route, those words and much more cause adults and kids to stand at attention.
“Kids need something to stand up for and this (wall) is part of it because everybody gives their life for something sooner or later.” So said a veteran on-camera as he stood before The Wall That Heals, the wall that will be in Camden May 3 to May 6. You can stand before it, too, in Camden, the only South Carolina venue on the 2018 Tour schedule.
The Wall honors the more than three million Americans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces in the Vietnam War. It bears the names of the more than 58,000 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. It gives veterans, families and the Camden community a chance to honor lost loved ones and friends.
According to virtualwall.org the following Camden servicemen died in Vietnam: PFC Michael Lynn Christmas, SP4 John Larry Jeffers, PFC Jerry Whitaker, and SGT Daniel Williams III. (Note: Sometimes names don’t appear under the cities you think they do.) The names on The Wall That Heals, listed alphabetically by day of casualty, replicate names on The Wall in Washington, D.C. Beginning at the center/apex, the names start on the East Wall (right-hand side) working their way out to the end of that wing, picking up again at the far end of the West Wall (left-hand side) and working their way back in to the center/apex. The beginning and ending of the conflict join at the center, signifying an epoch in American history.
American Legion Post #17, with support from the City of Camden, Kershaw County government, Historic Camden, Kershaw County School District, VFW, Marine Corps League and Navy League is hosting the wall. It stands 375 feet long, stands 7.5 feet high, and educational exhibits accompany it, providing a 24-hour, multi-day experience and education on the history of the Vietnam era for local schools and organizations. The exhibit includes The Wall That Heals and a mobile Education Center comprised of digital displays of photos of service members whose names are on The Wall; letters and memorabilia representative of items left at The Wall in D.C.; a map of Vietnam and a chronological overview of the Vietnam War. The exhibits tell the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall, and the era surrounding the conflict, and are designed to put American experiences in Vietnam in a historical and cultural context.
With its deep Revolutionary War experience, Camden is no stranger to war. How fitting that this wall honor veterans and their families for three days in a city noted for its wartime history. See The Wall That Heals at 222 Broad Street, Historic Camden, in Camden From Thursday, May 3 to Sunday, May 6.
See it 24 hours a day and see the educational exhibit housed in the eighteen-wheeler’s trailer. Cases built into its sides allow the trailer to serve as a mobile Education Center. It tells the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall, and a divisive era in American history. Stand together in Camden. Stand together in front of the Wall That Heals and remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.