In 1984, a transportable scale model of the Wall named The Moving Wall was first put on display. John Devitt was a helicopter door gunner in Vietnam. After he attended the 1982 dedication of the Wall in Washington, he vowed to make a smaller version of the Wall that could travel the country to take the Wall directly to the cities and towns of those named upon it.
Friends and relatives of the fallen who could not make the trip to Washington could now experience the Wall. John and his friends built The Moving Wall. Since 1984, two additional structures of The Moving Wall were added and have made more than 1000 visits all over the USA and Canada.
Since the names on the Wall are listed in the order of death, first-time visitors to the Wall are frequently unable to find the name they came to see. Shortly after the Wall was built, some relatives and friends of the fallen decided to help visitors find names and began to spend their spare time at the Wall with their own copies of the Directory of Names. They formed the organization Friends of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, “The Friends.”
While working in my office today, I noticed the book “Shrapnel in the Heart- Letters and Remembrances from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial” by Laura Palmer. It had been quite some time since I’d read it- but it got me thinking about my trips to visit “The Moving Wall” when it had been in my area.
Those visits were incredibly painful, but also immensely healing. So today I decided to read about the history behind The Moving Wall. I think it’s definitely worth sharing, and shows how combat vets help others.