Ten years after one of several traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorials was permanently located on the grounds of the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center, The Wall that Heals it is undergoing a facelift to keep it intact for future generations.
In May 1999 The Wall was on display in Altoona for four days, after which time it was to be retired to storage. Through the efforts of a dedicated group of individuals within the community, the funds were raised to purchase the memorial. The medical center agreed to designate a portion of the grounds to the wall and provided a permanent retaining wall, walkways, a flag avenue and a full service vistors' center. The medical center is the only one in the nation with a permanent exhibit of the The Wall.
There are 58,214 names on The Wall. Each name is laser etched into the panels of reflective black, powder-coated heavy aluminum. The panels are attached to a concrete retaining wall and surrounded by beautiful African black granite, top and bottom.
It is a place where families, loved ones, friends, soldiers and Veterans alike can see firsthand the reality of war. With 58,209 names of men and women who died or were missing in action during the Vietnam War etched into metal, it is a reminder of those who have sacrificed all for our Nation's freedom. The concrete wall and surrounding walkways were constructed in 2000 on the medical center grounds to offer tribute to those people and to all Veterans.
Currently, all the metal panels have been removed, are being cleaned and polished and repairs are being done to the retaining wall and surrounding landscape and hardscape.
The project will be complete by Veterans Day.