Wall That Heals Vietnam War memorial stops in Columbus, offering veterans moment of remembrance

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Columbus is honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice with a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Many people stopped by over the weekend to pay respects.

“They’re not here, but we’re here to carry on their memory,” said Vietnam veteran Mick Phillips.

The wall is another way for them to honor their fellow soldiers who they lost in the Vietnam War.

Having opened Friday, the wall saw its most visitors on Sunday.

The replica wall is 375 feet long, seven and a half feet tall at its highest point. Called the Wall That Heals, it contains the names of more than 58,000 Americans who lost their lives in the war.

The wall has been taken to almost 700 cities and is making the stop in Columbus for Memorial Day weekend, something organizers said was special for the city and the traveling monument.

“To have it here for Memorial Day weekend, that special day that’s been set aside, is a big honor for not only us, but for your community,” said Vic Muschler, site manager for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and The Wall That Heals. 

Part of the idea behind the monument is to give people and veterans the ability to see the wall without going to Washington D.C.

Visitors to the Columbus stop have been creating rubbings of names on the wall of the people who hold a special place in their hearts.

“As we all know, everybody can’t travel to Washington D.C.,” Muschler said. “This is the wall of magic. At this wall, all kinds of things occur, but what we want is that healing to begin.”

Veterans who visited Sunday said it was their way of showing respect to the friends they lost in the war.

“It shows that they have sacrificed their life, but the thing is, I would love not to see their names on the wall because I prefer them to be here,” said veteran George Graves. “But because of the loss, it’s gratitude.”

Graves and Phillips hadn’t met each other until Sunday, but having both served in Vietnam, there is a bond that brings them together.

“We just met, what, about half hour ago,” Graves said with a laugh.

Part of the healing for the men meant finding their friends’ names. Both served alongside fellow soldiers who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.

Graves paid respects to Michael Constantine and Oliver Zinamon. Phillips now has the name rubbing outline of his friend, Charles Kallaher. While the Wall will go to another city, he’ll have that forever.

“Some peace,” Phillips sighed. “Some peace.”

The Wall That Heals is open around the clock while in Columbus, but is set to close at 2 p.m. Monday.

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