KEY LARGO (CBSMiami/Florida Keys News Bureau) – Florida Keys visitors will see more than turquoise water and palm trees on their Key Largo visit. They can see a 3/5 scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall opened Thursday evening at the Key Largo Community Park, mile marker 100 oceanside, and is to remain on display through Monday evening. There is no charge for admission and exhibition hours each day are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
More than $20,000 was raised by the Key Largo community to fund the effort to bring the traveling wall to the Keys. This replica of the original V-shaped wall is six feet tall at the center with each wing 144 feet long. Like its counterpart, it has the names of 58,286 men and women who sacrificed their lives during the many years of the highly controversial Vietnam conflict.
The move to bring the memorial to the Keys began with Carl Roy, an Army Vietnam vet who organized a local committee to handle fundraising and organizational efforts.
“That war touched virtually every household in this country,” Roy said. “And these traveling walls go around the country to local communities especially for those that can’t get to Washington to see the original.
In addition to the traveling wall, a moveable museum exhibit of artifacts and photographs from the Vietnam conflict is on display as well.
“This wall is also known affectionately as the healing wall,” Roy added. “That is a significant aspect of the meaning of this wall.”
The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.