HALFMOON — A local design company has manufactured the largest Vietnam Memorial Wall replica ever that will visit dozens of cities around the nation.
Creatacor, an exhibit design company based in Halfmoon, was recruited to create a mobile Vietnam Memorial Wall that will travel to 38 stops throughout the country. The replica is officially named, “The Wall That Heals.”
The wall is 375 feet long and 8 feet high. There are 58,318 names on the wall, which is made up of 144 panels. The entire project weighs 8,000 pounds; the heaviest panel on its own weighs 78 pounds.
The wall was a joint effort of Creatacor and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
The wall departed from Creatacor on Friday afternoon and headed to its first stop in Houston. It is set to arrive there on Tuesday.
Cathy Miller, an account manager at Creatacor, said that the company received the greenlight to start the project in mid-December. It started with engineer drawings and then sourced the materials.
Engraving the wall with the names took approximately 500 hours, Miller said.
Creatacor, Miller said, has worked with the Vietnam Veteran Memorial Fund previously on smaller projects, which is how they got involved with the wall project.
Creatacor will be sending a supervisor to the first stop to help set up the wall, but from that point, she said, volunteers from each stop will most likely provide help.
Miller added that the building the wall was a communal project that everyone in the company cared about.
“Pretty much everybody at Creatacor put their hands on this project,” Miller said. “They all had something to do with it because we all just wanted to be a part of it.”
There are a number of other mobile Vietnam memorial walls, all smaller in scale.
Don Little, who was a medic in the Army during the war from 1969 to 1971, got a sneak peak of the wall on Thursday. For him, seeing the wall reminded him of the heavy implications of the war.
“When you look at all the names on the wall, it really brings home the significance of what happened in Vietnam,” Little said,
Little said he visited the official wall in Washington D.C,. and the thing that sticks in his head the most is seeing all of the names on the panels. When he saw the Creatacor wall, he experienced the same feeling.
“I was just amazed,” he said. “It grabs you, you know? And to see what Creatacor has done here ... it’s just amazing.”
The wall, he said, provides a recognition not only for soldiers who died in the war, but raises awareness for recognizing veterans today.
“When I came back, the country wasn’t too thrilled to have us back here. And I remember not even wanting to tell people that I was a veteran. I really didn’t want to identify myself as a veteran,” he said. “It’s so rewarding to see the veterans get the recognition today that is rightly deserved.”
Allan Atwell, a Korean War veteran, also got a sneak peak of the wall
“I’m sure this will make an impression on all those who see it,” he said. “I’m sure it will be very well received. I feel very humbled by this, by what it represents, and for all those that can see this, and just impress upon them how many thousands were lost in the defense of our country, because their names are displayed here.”