NEW BERN, N.C. — A touching tribute to Vietnam veterans made its first stop in New Bern, North Carolina Tuesday afternoon.
The Wall That Heals, a traveling three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., finally began its national tour after being postponed due to COVID-19. An escort of over 400 motorcycles, 50 corvettes and a helicopter made its way from Morehead City to New Bern, paving the way for the memorial.
Thomas DeBue, a Vietnam veteran, says it was an awesome experience riding his Harley Davidson in the escort.
“I saw, not hundreds, I saw thousands of people in the past 44 miles from Morehead,” DeBue says. “Thousands of people waving American flags, MIA flags, POW flags, and just waving and screaming back at the entourage of police, the tractor trailer, the motorcycles. It's like God, country, John Wayne, apple pie all thrown into one.”
There are 58,279 names listed in memory of those who were lost in the Vietnam War on the wall in D.C. The Vietnam veterans who attended the event were very thankful for this this tribute to their service.
“It's always nice when I see someone doing something for Vietnam veterans. Any veterans really, but especially Vietnam veterans because it was not a good war. Too many guys died,” DeBue explains.
Some of the names listed on the panels belong to eastern North Carolina citizens whose families still live in the area.
The Wall That Heals will be open to the public at Lawson Creek Park 24/7 from April 8 to April 11. The opening ceremony will take place Thursday at 6 p.m.
A few special guests are planned, including singer Brian Mayer, who will perform Vietnam era songs, and U.S. Army nurse Jane Knowles, who will be giving the principle address.