Fulfilling its purpose of bringing "the Wall" to communities that can't easily visit it, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund organizers never expected to set up the traveling memorial in D.C.
WASHINGTON – Fulfilling its purpose of bringing “the Wall” to communities that can’t easily visit it, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund organizers never expected to set up the traveling memorial in D.C.
But just inside the front gates of Georgetown University sits a sight one may expect to find across town — on a smaller scale.
The walkways to and from the Vietnam Memorial on the National Mall are blocked and off-limits to pedestrians due to the government shutdown. In response, Georgetown partnered with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund to allow visitors, tourists and school groups to have access to “the Wall.”
“It’s an exact one-half scale replica from the size of ‘the Wall’ down to the font on it,” says Erica Ross with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
Set up in a similar fashion, it juts in front of Georgetown’s Healy Hall at an angle, propped up in a high-traffic area of campus that is now quiet.
As they walk by, many students and faculty recognize it as the Vietnam Memorial and fall silent.
“I have lots of ties to the military in my family, so I was really pleased. It’s the first time and it’s great to see it,” says student Chloe Nalbantian.
Beyond its own significance, the temporary memorial is placed outside the Joseph Mark Lauinger Memorial Library on campus, named for a Georgetown student who gave his life serving in Vietnam.
“He’s on panel 14 west. So we’ve been pointing out to students,” Ross says.
After reading his biography and seeing Lauinger’s medals displayed inside the library recently, freshman Jose Cantu appreciates the university’s gesture.
“The man truly died a hero. Thinking about it now, this is a very good spot for it – both remembrance of him, and all the other veterans who gave their lives for their country,” Cantu says.
The free shuttle bus to the temporary memorial runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Friday. Parking on Georgetown’s campus is free and available in the garage over the weekends.
The replica will be on display and free to visit through Monday, Oct. 14.
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