Replica of Vietnam Wall memorial to be taken on tour around Ireland

 

A half-size replica of the Vietnam Wall memorial will go on tour around Ireland this week and the organisers hope that it will help the "healing process" in Northern Ireland.

The 250-foot replica will have the names of the more than 58,000 US service personnel who died in the Vietnam War, including 14 Irish-born citizens. Thousands of Irish-Americans also died in the conflict. This will be the first time the replica has travelled outside the US, where it has made 80 stops and been viewed by almost one million people.

Mr Jan C. Scruggs, a Vietnam veteran who inspired the idea of the memorial on the Mall in Washington, says the Irish tour "will celebrate the long-standing bond between America and Ireland. Hopefully it will go far beyond just visitors viewing the 58,214 names of those killed in Vietnam. We are optimistic that those who visit it, from both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, will spend time reflecting on their own losses and personally experience the `healing legacy' of The Wall."

President McAleese, in a message, says the tour "commemorates those of Irish birth and ancestry who died in that terrible war and recognises the important and historic role that Irish men and women have played in the battlefields of America over the centuries".

The tour, from April 16th to May 3rd, will begin on Friday at Collins Barracks, Cork. It will move to Dublin Castle, Queen's University, Belfast, University College, Galway and finish in Adare Manor, Co Limerick.

It will be publicised by ceremonies, panel discussions and lectures which will feature authors, historians, trauma specialists and architects. At Adare Manor, a veterans' memorial sculpture will be dedicated and there will be a discussion on the "power that memorials and other forms of architecture can play in the healing process".

In Belfast there will be a session on the psychological and emotional effects of national conflict on communities and individuals. The Irish-born citizens who died in Vietnam were Timothy Daly, Limerick; Sean Timothy Doran, Dublin; Lt John Cecil Driver, Dublin; Bernard Anthony Freyne, Roscommon; Patrick Gallagher, Mayo; Edward Michael Howell, Dublin; Capt Edmond John Landers, Tipperary; Paul Ivan Maher, Dublin; Peter Mary Nee, Galway; Patrick Christopher Nevin, Mayo; Maurice Joseph O'Callaghan, Dublin; Lt Anthony Paul O'Reilly, Galway; Edward Anthony Scully, Cork; Michael Francis Smith, Cavan.