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Woodring Wall of Honor aim to fix Vietnam Memorial replica

By JAMES NEALMay 12, 2019

ENID, OKLA. (AP) — Woodring Wall of Honor and Veterans Park is raising funds to repair and restore the park’s scale replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

The former American Veterans Traveling Tribute Vietnam Memorial Wall was welcomed to Enid in November 2012, and dedicated on Memorial Day in May 2013.

An 80% scale replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., the wall contains the names of more than 58,000 people who lost their lives during the Vietnam War.

Elaine Johns, executive director of Woodring Wall of Honor and Veterans Park, said the wall has attracted thousands of visitors since it was dedicated, many of them Vietnam veterans who’d never been able to visit the original memorial on the National Mall.

But, seven years of Oklahoma sun, wind and earthquakes have taken their toll on the “retired soldier,” Johns told the Enid News and Eagle. The anodized aluminum panels bearing the names of fallen service members have begun to fade and oxidize, and cracks have appeared in the concrete berm and wall on which the panels are mounted.

Johns said the Wall of Honor board is trying to raise at least $5,000 to repair cracks and coat the concrete with a protective rubberized sealant, grout the concrete seams and improve landscaping at the memorial.

“It’s just maintenance to repair things that were completely beyond our control,” Johns said. “We want it to look as pristine as it did when we dedicated it in 2013. It’s our duty as volunteers to maintain the dignity of the wall, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

If more money is raised, Johns said the Wall of Honor board would like to explore ways to protect the wall from the effects of the sun with a permanent awning.

“We want to preserve the wall and continue its mission to bring education to the next generation, to bring comfort to those who lived through the Vietnam War and to bring healing to those who’ve never been able to approach it before,” Johns said. “We need to do everything we can to preserve that remembrance and that healing place for men and women who were affected by the war.”

In addition to the funds, Johns said volunteers also are needed to help with landscaping, dirt work, cleaning wall panels, gardening and installing signs leading up to this year’s Memorial Day celebration.

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Information from: Enid News & Eagle, http://www.enidnews.com

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