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Wall that Heals coming to York in May

Greg Gross
505-5433/@ggrossyd
  • The Wall that Heals will be at the York Expo Center from May 5 through 8

Gene Schenk remembers what it was like when he came back to the United States in 1969 after serving in Vietnam.

York Expo Center board member Gene Schenk, middle, addresses a small crowd, during the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall press conference Wednesday, March 30, 2016, in the Verandah Room at the York Expo Center. The traveling memorial wall will be on display at the Expo Center May 5-8. Amanda J. Cain photo

"You kept it to yourself, and I was bitter," said Schenk, who was a member of the elite Green Beret unit in the U.S. Army.

Many Vietnam War veterans were neglected and often mistreated when they came back from serving in the southeast Asian country.

But some found solace visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which has the names of the nearly 60,000 members of the U.S. armed services who died in the conflict, in Washington, D.C.

A half-sized replica of the wall, known as the Wall that Heals, will come to York County for at least the third time.

Wall the Heals

Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1032 President Bob Fink, left, looks down at service dog Laguna, while talking to Air Force Veteran Robert Winslow after the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall press conference Wednesday, March 30, 2016, in the Verandah Room at the York Expo Center. The traveling memorial wall will be on display at the Expo Center May 5-8. Amanda J. Cain photo

: The replica wall will be on display from May 5 to 8 at the York Expo Center and will be open to the public to check out at no cost, Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover Township, announced Wednesday.

Grove said he hopes younger students will visit the wall to learn about the men and women who served in Vietnam and to learn more about the war.

As is the tradition at the Washington version, attendees can bring mementos to the Wall that Heals. They also can make rubbings of names on the wall.

"Even if you're not a Vietnam veteran, to stand there and to see those names is an emotional experience," said Schenk, who is also a board member of the York Fair.

Behind each name is a story and a family that went through a horrible time in their loved one's death, he said.

Museum: 

Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover Township, right, talks with Phil Frigm, middle, and Donna Keefer, left, at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall press conference Wednesday, March 30, 2016, in the Verandah Room at the York Expo Center. The traveling memorial wall will be on display at the Expo Center May 5-8. Amanda J. Cain photo

The exhibit also features a museum that includes photos of service members whose names are on the wall as well as memorabilia and letters left at the permanent wall in Washington. The wall will be open 24 hours a day while at the expo center.

Its visit is hosted by the York County-based Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1032, said Bob Fink, chapter president.

Volunteers, some of whom are veterans, will be on hand during the memorial's stop.

Additional volunteers are needed, and anyone interested in helping out is asked to contact Grove's district office at (717) 767-3947.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.