Plans are under way for Lander University to host a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial located in the nation’s capital, on its campus Sept. 8-11. Meeting to discuss preliminary plans are, seated from left, Jim Pfeiffer, president and CEO of Self Regional Healthcare, one of the sponsors of the Wall exhibit; and Lander president Dr. Daniel Ball. Standing is Carey Bolt Jr., veterans affairs officer for Greenwood and Laurens counties, who is coordinating arrangements for the exhibit.
A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be on display at Lander University Sept. 8-11, to coincide with the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
"The Wall That Heals," as it is known, is a half-size replica of the original memorial. It measures 250 feet in length and is made up of 24 panels, each containing six columns listing the names of American servicemen and women who were killed in Vietnam, 58,249 in all. The total includes the names of nearly 900 South Carolinians.
Carey Bolt Jr., veterans affairs officer for Greenwood and Laurens counties, is coordinating the Wall exhibit with Self Regional Healthcare and other organizations as sponsors.
Jim Pfeiffer, president and CEO of Self, said, "I am excited about having this exhibit in Greenwood. We need to honor our veterans because without them, we would not have our freedoms." Pfeiffer's family has a long history of military service. His father is a West Point graduate, and his son, a recent graduate of the Air Force Academy, is in pilot training.
Lander president Dan Ball said the university is privileged to have been selected as the site for the memorial. "Partnering with Self Regional has special meaning for us because our two institutions collaborate on so many other levels." He added, "This memorial showcases the men and women who gave their lives to keep our nation free."
Ball noted that several Lander students are serving or have served in the military. The university is also home to Bearcat Company of the Highlander Battalion, an Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) unit that has 18 members according to Lt. James Thompson, the officer in charge.
Bolt, a retired Army paratrooper, said the Wall display and a small museum will be placed in front of Lander's Old Main Tower. It will be accessible to the public 24 hours a day with an honor guard posted around the clock.
Anna Cuson, CPA, Self Regional Healthcare's senior internal auditor, is working with Bolt to organize activities to accompany the Wall exhibit including a health fair and several events to honor veterans, police officers and firefighters.
Since it was created, the portable Vietnam Veterans Memorial has visited sites in more than 300 cities and towns in the U.S. and Canada. Bolt coordinated a display of the replica in Laurens County in 2007.