The Moving Wall is a half-size replica of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C. John Dewitt of San Jose, CA came up with the idea after attending the 1982 dedication of the D.C. Memorial. A former Army helicopter door gunner who served in Vietnam from 1967 – 1969, he had suffered from the lack of public support and consequences of PTSD. But, at the dedication, he felt the spirit of caring people and wanted to spread it around to folks who couldn’t travel to Washington DC.
Dewitt and his friends fund raised and spent 22 months building the original moving wall which made its first appearance 1984. Now, there are two Moving Walls touring the country. One has been in Brattleboro since Thur. Sept 16, 2021 and can be viewed until Mon. Sept. 20, 2021. The Wall consists of 74 panels containing 58,318 names in chronological order of death dates between November 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975. For those who missed it, a mini virtual tour of the DC monument is available here.
Architect Maya Lin design this monument without the traditional allegories of peace and heroism. Instead, she used names which created an intimacy that by reading them could be internalized over 58,000 times. Where a picture represents snapshot in time, a name may recall everything about that person. She described the monument “as an interface between our world and the quieter, darker, more peaceful place beyond.” By using highly reflective granite, her goal was to create two worlds, the viewer's and one beyond and cannot be entered.