The H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum in Huntsville is asking for the community’s help in serving as a permanent home to a Vietnam memorial wall, paying tribute to those that served in America’s “most controversial war.”.
The Vietnam Wall was a traveling memorial that came to Huntsville around 11 years ago, drawing visitors at all hours of the day and night. Now, the H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum is hoping to serve as the wall’s permanent home, as it is being retired and offered to the museum at a price that they “could not refuse.”
Having already covered the down payment, the museum is now asking for the community’s help to raise the remaining $175,000 in donations to cover the cost of the wall and construction of the platforms for the panels to attach to.
H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum executive director Tara Burnett and board president Kenneth Lee predict that the wall will boost tourism for the city, bringing in veterans from across the state with their families, increasing income for lodging, food and gas. As such, the museum will be applying for a HOT Funds grant in addition to their fundraising efforts to cover the wall’s expenses.
“This would be something that people would drive to come see. Veterans that can’t make that trip to Washington, this would be the next best thing for them,” Burnett said. It will also be the only permanent Vietnam Wall in the state of Texas.
The wall is an 80% replica of the famous Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C. and will span the entire left side of the property as a backdrop to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Walkway that traces the path of 10 trees dedicated to the 10 Huntsville locals killed while serving in Vietnam.
Six information panels will stand apart from the wall depicting a history on the war along with another panel to honor the donors that made the wall possible for the museum. It will also come with a software teaching program that has a timeline of the war as well as bios for some of the 58,267 names on the wall.
“It means a lot to us that were over there because a lot of people resented the United States being in Vietnam,” Lee said. “We have so many friends that were killed there, but because of some of the ideas that were going on at the time, we weren’t really welcomed home like from the other wars. This, to all of us, is a welcome home and recognition of what we did and what everybody did for their country.”
The museum hopes to have the project fully funded by March 2021 in time for Vietnam Veterans Day on March 29.
“I can’t think of a better way to honor all of our Vietnam Veterans that are here with us and all of those that have gone before, than to have a very touching, moving event out there at our newly constructed wall for all of them,” Burnett said. “I think we owe them that.”
Donations for the H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum Vietnam Wall can be made in-person or by mail at 463 State Hwy 75 N in Huntsville, online at www.gofundme.com/f/bring-the-vietnam-wall-to-huntsville-tx-for-good or by phone at (936)295-5959.