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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Patriot Guard Riders Escort 'The Wall That Heals' to UCM

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (June 29, 2017) – Huddled in a circle with about 125 Patriot Guard Riders, Randy “Pops” Vogel, a senior ride captain, on Wednesday, June 28, reminded the group of military veterans about the importance of the 40-mile motorcycle ride they were about undertake.

“We must remember, we have the honor of not just escorting this beautiful truck and the wall that’s inside, but also the memories of those whose names are on the wall. Keep them in your hearts as we ride today,” Vogel told the group as it prepared to leave the University of Central Missouri-Lee’s Summit parking lot heading east to Warrensburg. 

truck and escort

Area law enforcement personnel and about 125 Patriot Guard Riders escorted The Wall Heals to the University of Central Missouri June 28.

The colorfully decorated tractor-trailer truck Vogel, a veteran of such rides, referred to was transporting The Wall That Heals, a 250-foot –long half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (often called The Wall) in Washington, D.C. The lengthy trailer also serves as a Mobile Education Center. It provides information about the Vietnam War, as well as photos of service members whose names are on The Wall, a timeline of the Vietnam era, and letters and memorabilia left at the memorial in D.C.

The Wall That Heals was escorted by the Patriot Guard Riders to UCM, where it was assembled Wednesday afternoon on the west side of the James C. Kirkpatrick Library with staff and volunteer support that included university Facilities Planning and Operations grounds and electrical personnel, middle school and high school students from Warrensburg and Knob Noster, local Boy Scouts, 4-H members and a local construction company. Free and  open to the public,  the display is available 24 hours a day Thursday, June 29 through 3 p.m. Sunday,
July 2, where it then departs for Illinois.

Patrick O’Neil, site manager from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation (VVMF), said UCM is one of 40 stops the traveling exhibit will make across America this year.  He noted that through his conversations over the years with people who served in the Vietnam War, their families and friends, the emotions that are generated by those who visit the traveling memorial demonstrate how this exhibit gets its name.  Many visitors recall how different soldiers were treated after their return home from the war than they are today.

“There are a lot of families of soldiers who died in Vietnam who come down…so many people have put  that emotion away for a long time, so now is a time when they come out and look up buddies. They are still a little bit hesitant. but when they see other veterans here experiencing the same thing, it becomes amazing,” O’Neil said.

“It’s like a traveling novel for me. It’s the same story, but there’s a different chapter at every town I go to,” O’Neil said.  “Someone will see a name on the wall, and they will break down emotionally, and I will ask who’s that (person) to you? They’ll say something like that was my replacement. So there’s a lot of connection right here on the wall.”

With dark clouds and a chance of showers looming overhead, the opening ceremony for The Wall That Heals took place Thursday morning, and included a flag ceremony conducted by Lee’s Summit Junior ROTC members and TAPS performed by university music professor David Aaberg.


Volunteer support from a number of university and community sources was needed to erect  250-foot-long memorial to Vietnam War veterans, The Wall That Heals, on the west side of the James C. Kirkpatrick Library. A number of people viewed the wall during the opening flag raising ceremony June 29.

UCM President Charles Ambrose spoke to the gathering of about 50 people noting, “I hope this remembrance for each of you is part of your healing.”

In his brief remarks he recalled his memories of the Vietnam War as a nine-year-old youth living in Drexel, N.C., a small community in the western part of the state, where images of the war were shared via television network news icons like Walter Cronkite. He remembered hearing the daily reports of those who lost their lives, among them  was a young man well known to the Ambrose family.

“We had one member of our community killed in Vietnam on July 20, 1970, Sgt. Samuel Carrol. He is on 8W Row 35 (officially listed as Panel 08W Line 35),” Ambrose said. He noted that when the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened in 1982 in Washington, D.C., he went directly to that panel to find the name familiar name.

“This morning, there are 58,000 families that have been affected. Our prayer is that through remembrance there is truly healing,” he told the gathering..

Tim Tetz, director of outreach for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which makes this traveling replica of the national memorial and the Mobile Education Center possible , commended the Warrensburg community and UCM for its support of The Wall that Heals visit to campus.. He said this will be a special week as the community embraces and honors those who served in the Vietnam War.

“There’s going to be some tears shed here – and I got to see some of that yesterday. There’s going to be an opportunity for some laughter, and there’s going be an opportunity for a whole lot of healing,” Tetz said. “That healing is what will begin here and it will take a form that will happen for decades because these students who were here yesterday to help us set up, and everyone who comes to visit will be able to recall back to when they got to see The Wall That Heals on the UCM campus, and how we brought these heroes home.”

Amber Clifford-Napoleone, director of the McClure Archives and University Museum, has led the committee that organized The Wall That Heals visit and special activities planned on campus. She briefly outlined   special activities that will honor Vietnam Veterans and provide an educational experience to help others learn about the Vietnam War.

At 6 p.m. today in the Alumni Memorial Chapel, there will be a special memorial service commemorating the Vietnam War. It will honor those who served and their families, and recognize local veterans whose names are on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Col. Gary Gilmore, senior Army chaplain with the Missouri Army National Guard, will officiate.

Doors open at 6 p.m. Friday in Twomey Auditorium, Wood Building 100 for an advance preview of Ken Burns’ and Lynn Novick’s documentary, “The Vietnam War,” followed by a panel discussion featuring local Vietnam War veterans and civilian workers. KMOS-TV, UCM’s public television station, is making this possible. It is one segment within a 10-part documentary that the station will air in September 2017 telling the epic story of the Vietnam War through firsthand accounts and testimony from nearly 100 witnesses. The documentary, which begins at 6:30 p.m., features many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides.

The Veterans Stand-Down is planned for 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday in the ballroom of the Elliott Student Union. Approximately 15 veterans’ organizations, health services representatives, and medical professionals will offer free assistance to veterans. Participants are encouraged to bring their DD Form 214 or other identification.

Throughout the four-day event, the McClure Archives and Museum exhibition, “Commemoration,” will be open to the public from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in library room 1470. This event features the stories of local military veterans who were interviewed by UCM students, as well as memorabilia from local veterans.

The Wall That Heals is hosted by the McClure Archives and University Museum, which also joins in sponsoring the event with KMOS-TV, Museum of Missouri Military History, UCM Office of the Provost-Chief Learning Officer, and UCM Military and Veterans Services.

For more information contact Amber Clifford-Napoleone at 660-543-4649, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the McClure Archives and Museum in James C. Kirkpatrick Library 1470.  Interested individuals can also visit Facebook @ucmarchivesandmuseum.