Opening Day for The Wall That Heals in Urbandale Brings Governor, Plenty of Visitors

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URBANDALE, Iowa - Iowans can pay their respects to fallen soldiers of the Vietnam War at The Wall That Heals, a mobile replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, in Urbandale this week.

Opening day on Thursday at Living History Farms brought out Governor Terry Branstad, who apologized to Vietnam Veterans who were mistreated when they returned home from the war.

"Thank you," he said. "We appreciate you. We apologize for the fact that you didn't get the kind of homecoming and recognition at the time, but we're proud that Iowa and others are doing our part today."

The half-scale replica of the original was started in 1996 and has traveled to more than 400 communities across the country. Plenty of Iowans from all across the state are making the journey to see the wall themselves, citing inabilities to see the real one in Washington. One visitor from Ottumwa says she's married to a Vietnam War veteran, and has never had the chance to see the real thing.

"I know that there's a lot of Vietnam Veterans that's standing here, that's very proud that they've made it home, and it's sad to see the names on the wall that didn't make it home," said Rose Palm. "I saw some of my relatives' names here that didn't make it home. But times have changed and things are changing, so we can just hope for the best."

The wall is free and open to the public through Sunday afternoon.