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The Wall That Heals an imortant icon

Posted: April 19, 2018 3:14 p.m.
Updated: April 20, 2018 1:00 a.m.

The Wall That Heals (TWTH) will open for public visiting May 3-6 on South Broad Street in Camden between the City Arena and Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site.

I want to be sure the community understands why this is such an important event to experience. In two troubled decades from Nov. 1, 1955, to April 30, 1975, over 58,000 Americans died in Vietnam in service to our country.

The Wall That Heals is the three-fourth size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (commonly The Wall), which is one of the most visited memorials in our nation’s capital and attracts over 5.5 million visitors annually. The name of each serviceman who died is inscribed on The Wall in chronological order by date of death. The memorial’s appeal is not for gawkers or curiosity-seekers or persons looking for entertainment, but is a solemn and reverent place of information, memory, and reflection.

Local residents, without traveling to Washington, D.C., will be able to have the experience of that memorial at home. TWTH will be staffed and open for visitors 24 hours a day the four days it is here. The mobile education center that accompanies TWTH will operate during daylight hours.

Visitors will be able to learn about and honor the more than 58,000 Americans who died for their country and remember the more than 3 million Americans who served in the armed forces during the Vietnam War.

Uniquely in Camden, visitors will be paying their respects on the very grounds where Revolutionary War forebears were held captive by British forces nearly 238 years ago. Historic and personal reflections of visitors will likely expand as well to others of our nation’s wars and struggles, past and present.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF), the nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 1980 to build a Vietnam War memorial, has oversight of both The Wall in Washington and its traveling companion The Wall That Heals. Recently VVMF added to its online site [] the digital presence of The Wall of Faces. Not only is it possible for one to search online for identifying information for a name on The Wall, one may now also put a face to names for which pictures have been supplied.

Until just a week ago, VVMF did not have photographs of all Kershaw County servicemen who died in Vietnam to place on the digital Wall of Faces. As Post 17 historian, I sincerely thank all the local citizens who aided in our post’s efforts to complete the record by searching for the missing two images. All 10 servicemen on The Wall that are recognized by the National Archives as being from Kershaw County are now matched with a photograph and identification on the digital Wall of Faces.

Names of the 10 identified from Kershaw County, with dates of death and branch of service, are as follows:

Grover Coleman Bowers Jr., of Westville. January 11, 1970. Army

Michael Lynn Christmas of Camden. May 6, 1969. Army

Terry Shavon Hearon of Lugoff. May 12, 1967. Marines

Matthew Hough of Bethune. February 23, 1966. Army

John Larry Jeffers of Camden. July 25, 1967. Army

Eugene Nelson of Lugoff. March 14, 1968. Navy

Wylie Oria Phillips of Kershaw. December 30, 1967. Army

Harry Lee Sowell Jr., of Kershaw. April 23, 1968. Army

Jerry Whitaker of Camden. May 10, 1968. Marines

Daniel Williams III of Camden. February 18, 1968. Army

Assistance will be available at TWTH for a visitor wishing to locate names of family or friends. Photos are permitted, and rubbings of names may be made.

There is no admission charge to visit TWTH or its companion mobile education center. The presence of TWTH is a long-planned gift to our community from James Leroy Belk American Legion Post 17, the city of Camden, Kershaw County, and Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site. Camden is the only 2018 host site in South Carolina for TWTH.


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