The Sanford Elks Lodge #1470 along with community Veteran’s Service Organization’s sponsored the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall That Heals from September 6th to the 10th. Visitation was free to the public.

The Wall That Heals honors the more than three million Americans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces in the Vietnam War, and it bears the names of the 58,281 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam. “The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is pleased to bring The Wall That Heals mobile exhibit to Sanford, Maine, to allow local veterans and their family members a chance to experience The Wall,” said Jim Knotts, president and CEO of VVMF.  “Hosting The Wall That Heals provides an opportunity to honor and remember all those who served and sacrificed in the Vietnam War and educate visitors on the continuing impact of the Vietnam War on America.”

The Wall That Heals is transported from community to community in a 53-foot trailer. When parked, the trailer opens with exhibits built into its sides, allowing it to serve as a mobile education center telling the story of the Vietnam War.

The three-quarter scale wall replica is 375 feet long and stands 7.5 feet high at its tallest point.  Visitors will experience The Wall rising above them as they walk towards the apex, a key feature of the design of The Wall in Washington D.C.  Visitors can do name rubbings of individual service member names on The Wall.

The Wall that Heals spent four days on display across from Walmart on route 109 in South Sanford, Maine September 7th to 10th, 2023.

The mobile education center exhibit includes: digital photo displays of “Hometown Heroes” – service members whose names are on The Wall that list their home of record within the area of a visit; digital photo displays of Vietnam veterans from the local area honored through the VVMF’s In Memory program, which honors veterans who returned home from Vietnam and later died.

The exhibits tell the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall, and the era surrounding the conflict, and is designed to put American experiences in Vietnam in a historical and cultural context.  Video displays teach about the history and impact of The Wall; educational exhibits told through items representative of those left at The Wall in D.C.; a replica of the In Memory plaque that resides on the grounds of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial site in Washington, D.C.; a map of Vietnam and a chronological overview of the Vietnam War.

The 2023 national The Wall That Heals tour is sponsored by USAA.  Through a partnership with the Truckload Carriers Association, the trucking industry, and Blue Beacon Truck Wash, the exhibit travels to sites across the country.

This was a project that Sanford Elks PER Dawna Legere worked on over the last few years. Her special project during her year as ER was to have a bus bring Maine Veterans to Washington to see The Wall, but the COVID outbreak prevented that but it continued to be a hope of hers after her year.  The replica wall was open to visitors 24 hours a day, and during it’s time here The Wall drew a steady stream of visitors from the time it opened, and by the end of the four days we hosted over 5,000 visitors.

There are eight Sanford residents whose names are engraved into the wall.  This viewing of the wall will be the only destination in New England this year. Over 200 volunteers helped with erecting the wall, helped visitors locate names on the wall, take rubbings, direct parking and disassemble at the end of the 4 days. Some volunteers were there to just listen to the stories that visitors felt like sharing.


Skip to content