Replica of the Vietnam Wall of Remembrance returning to Naperville

Close up of the replica Vietnam Memorial Wall in Naperville from 2015
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A replica of the Vietnam Wall of Remembrance will return to Naperville in November to honor the 50th anniversary of when the last American combat troops left South Vietnam. 

The wall will be near the Grand Pavilion by the Riverwalk for a five-day stretch over the course of Veterans Day weekend. It had last appeared in town alongside the Healing Field of Honor at Rotary Hill in 2015. 

Constructing the wall from scratch

Replica of the Vietnam Wall of Remembrance displayed in 2015 at Rotary Hill, photo courtesy Naperville Park District

Replica of the Vietnam Wall of Remembrance displayed in 2015 at Rotary Hill, photo courtesy Naperville Park District

Like the wall from 2015, this year’s will be a replica of the wall at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It will be an estimated 233 feet in length and will include the names of over 58,000 service members who died in Vietnam between 1957 and 1975.

11 of those service members were Naperville residents, each of whom will be honored with a plaque during the display of the wall. 

The wall will be constructed with donated materials from Naperville resident  Ray Kinney and the printing company Blooming Color, both of whom also donated the parts back in 2015. 84 Lumber in Naperville is donating the lumber to create the frame of the wall.

“So the wood that made up the structure of the [2015] wall was repurposed and reused in other areas of the park district but the actual panels still remain,” said Brad Wilson, the Executive Director of the Naperville Park District. “They just over time, are not in the best condition and that’s why Blooming Color is actually creating new panels for this year’s wall.”

Veterans groups helping with the wall construction

The park district will be assisted by Naperville Responds for Veterans (NRFV), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Naperville American Legion, and members of the community in the development and construction of the wall.

“For the public, it reminds them of the sacrifices made so they can enjoy their freedoms,” Mike Barbour, a Vietnam War veteran and board member for Naperville Responds for Veterans told the Chicago Tribune. “For the Vietnam veteran, it lets them visit their friends that they served with.”

The wall’s return is thanks to a community-wide effort.

“Through donations [by] community members, businesses, organizations all coming together to be able to raise the funds, and to get donated materials to bring the wall back,” said Wilson. 

Change to the Veterans Day Ceremony

The wall will be on display from Nov. 9 to Nov. 13. 

Due to that timing, the Veteran’s Day Ceremony, which is usually held at Veterans Park, will instead take place near the wall at the Grand Pavilion on Nov. 11.

Those interested in finding family member’s name on the wall can do a virtual search on the Wall of Faces website.

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