BALLINGER - The Wall That Heals, a scale model of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, was escorted out of Ballinger to its destination at Fort Concho on Wednesday, Nov, 15. The wall was on display there through Sunday, Nov. 19.

BALLINGER - The Wall That Heals, a scale model of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, was escorted out of Ballinger to its destination at Fort Concho on Wednesday, Nov, 15. The wall was on display there through Sunday, Nov. 19.

The Wall That Heals, was escorted by the Runnels County Sheriff’s Department to the county line as well as members of the Patriot Guard, who escorted the wall all the way to Fort Concho.

“It is an honor to escort this wall,” said Runnels County Sheriff Carl Squyres.

Patrick O’Neill, the manager of the Wall That Heals of Arlington, Virg. travels with the wall on the more than 40 stops a year that the wall makes per year across the United States. O’Neill, who is the son of a veteran, has been traveling with the wall for three years. He feels a close connection with the wall because his father, was a sniper with the Marines in Vietnam.

“This is my service,” O’Neill said.

He said bringing the only official Vietnam Memorial model of the the wall to communities across the country, is important.

“It is important because people cannot always travel to Washington,” O’Neill said. “We decided to bring to all the communities we can. It is life changing for a lot of people.”

Bob Homier, who is also a member of the Vietnam Veterans memorial Fund, was making his first trip with O’Neill and looks forward to many more trips.

“I felt a connection when I visited the memorial,” said Homier who served in Vietnam from 1967-71. “I felt like a part of it.”

The wall, which is 250 feet in length, was transported via a truck and trailer, and organizer Ronald “J.J.” Graham, who is part of the Heritage Chapter of the Vigilance Organization of San Angelo, which is a group of active and retired military intelligence personnel, was at the send off at the Walmart parking lot in Ballinger Wednesday.

“We are glad it is here,” Graham said Wednesday. “It culminates in all these months of work.”

The Wall That Heals is approximately 250 feet in length, and like the original Memorial is erected in a chevron-shape. The replica is constructed of powder-coated aluminum, supported by an aluminum frame, and is made up of 24 individual panels.

The wall is transported to each location by Bud Smith of Weatherford, who volunteers his rig for the job and pays for the fuel to transport the wall. He has been transporting the wall for the past two years and Fort Concho was his 15th destination. Smith, a veteran who served in the Marines from 1979-85 said the reason he volunteers is special.

“I do it for the 58,418 names that are on that wall,” Smith said. “It’s giving back. I’m transporting 58,418 heros. I look after them like they look after me. It is an honor and a privilege.”

Jimmy Rogers, Jr., a member of the Patriot Guard, was on hand to escort the wall. While he is not a veteran, his father, Jimmy Rogers, Sr. is listed on the wall. He died, Nov. 11, 1967 in Vietnam.

“I do this to back our military, and for my dad and my son, who both served,” Rogers said.

Prior to the send-off and escort, employees from the Ballinger Walmart furnished refreshments to the Patriot Guard, veterans and representatives who were on hand at the event.

As on The Wall, the names on The Wall That Heals are listed by day of casualty. Beginning at the center/apex, the names start on the East Wall (right-hand side) working their way out to the end of that wing, picking up again at the far end of the West Wall (left-hand side) and working their way back into the center/apex, joining the beginning and end of the conflict at the center.

The exterior sides of the trailer that carries The Wall That Heals open to become a mobile Education Center. Information cases display photos of service members whose names are found on The Wall, along with letters and memorabilia left at The Wall in D.C. The Museum also includes a map of Vietnam and a chronological overview of the conflict in Vietnam.

The exhibits tell the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the era surrounding the conflict, and are designed to put American experiences in Vietnam in a historical and cultural context.

On Veterans Day 1996, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) unveiled a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., designed to travel to communities throughout the United States. Since its dedication, The Wall That Heals has visited more than 400 cities and towns throughout the nation, spreading the Memorial’s healing legacy to millions.

O’Neill told the folks at the event that while visitors cannot make etchings from the Wall That Heals, they were able to fill out cards at the event that go back to Washington, where a volunteer will etch each requested name and send it back to the family or requester.

The Wall That Heals was on display at Fort Concho for 24 hours a day from Nov.16-19. It was set up by Marines and was guarded around the clock. The Wall That Heals traveled through Runnels and finally Fort Concho following the last stop in Oklahoma City. The final destination for 2017 will Amarillo, where it will be on display sometime in December.