The Wall at Penn State

The Wall will be in Penn State Innovation Park on Thursday, October 5–Sunday, October 8. This special event will be held in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War and will be the culminating community event of WPSU’s project, A Time to Heal.

There is no charge for parking, the shuttle, visiting the grounds, or activities.

Directions and Parking

The wall will be installed on the lawn between 100 and 200 Innovation Boulevard, State College PA 16803. Innovation Park is located just of I-99 and Park Avenue.

ADA Parking is located in the 200 lot. All other visitors are asked to use the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center lot directly across from the lawn. When this lot is at capacity, traffic police will direct visitors to Porter North) to park and catch the free CATA Red Link going to Innovation Park.

Schedule

The Wall will open at noon on Thursday, October 5, and remain open 24 hours-a-day until Sunday, at 3:00 p.m.

Wednesday, October 4

  • 4:30 p.m. Motorcycle Honor Escort leaves Weis Markets parking lot in Bellefonte. The ride is open to all riders. No registration is required, but is appreciated. Visit Facebook for details.
  • 5:00 p.m. Motorcycle Honor Escort arrives at 100 Innovation Boulevard in Innovation Park. Estimated arrival pending number of riders.
  • 5:30 p.m. Welcome reception for Honor Escort.

Thursday, October 5

  • Noon The Wall grounds open to the public and remains open 24 hours-a-day until Sunday, October 8, at 3:00 p.m.
  • 4:30 p.m. Seating under the tent for the Opening Ceremony opens to the public.
  • 5:30 p.m. Opening Ceremony. Wall visitations are suspended during the ceremony.
  • 6:45 p.m. Echo Taps closes the ceremony at sunset. Visitation of the Wall resumes. Hospitality tent with lookup station resumes.

You can stream the Opening Ceremony here or on Facebook at 5:30 p.m. 

Friday, October 6

  • 9:00 a.m. Education Day. Area high schools are invited to meet and hear stories from Vietnam Veterans, see a reenactment camp, and trace a name on the Wall. The Wall will remain open to the public.
  • 3:00 p.m. Education Day concludes.
  • 6:45 p.m. Sunset
  • 7:30 p.m. Essence of Joy tribute performance under the tent. Ends at approximately 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 7

  • 10:00 a.m. Music from Bellefonte Community Band until 11:00 a.m.
  • 11:30 a.m. Multi-county Veterans Affairs Ceremony.
  • 3:00 p.m. Big Band Sounds until 4:00 p.m.
  • 6:43 p.m. Sunset
  • 7:00 p.m. Screening of WPSU’s documentary “A Time to Heal.”

Sunday, October 8

  • 1:00 p.m. Closing Ceremony under the tent. Wall Guard will suspend public visitations during the ceremony.
  • 2:15 p.m. Closing Ceremony concludes.
  • 3:00 p.m. The Wall closes to the public.

You can stream the Closing Ceremony here or on Facebook at 1:00 p.m. 

Plan Your Visit

Information for the general public on visiting the American Veterans Traveling Tribute

Etiquette:

Please remember that many visitors lost friends and family members during the war. They are visiting the memorial to pay respect to those who lost their lives. Please respect other visitors and follow the recommendations outlined below:

  • Speak in a quiet voice.
  • Please do not eat at the memorial.
  • Leave no trace – do not litter. Please deposit trash in the appropriate containers.
  • For your safety and the safety of others, please walk at all times.
  • The memorials are designed so you can get very close to them. Feel free to touch them, or do an etching of the names, but please refrain from leaning on them or going behind them.
  •  With the exception of service animals, do not bring your pet per Penn State Safety Policy SY07.

How The Wall is organized:

The names are listed in chronological order by date of their casualty and begin and end in the center of the memorial where the two walls meet.  If you wish to view the memorial in chronological order, start in the middle and move to the right, this is the East side of the memorial.  When you reach last panel on the right, you must walk across to the far left of the memorial, the West side, and proceed to the right, back towards the center.  You will notice you have traveled in a circle – movement said to represent a completion to the war, and the circle of life. With the meeting of the beginning and ending, a major epoch in American history is signified.

Each panel is numbered from “1” to “70” at the base, with West Panel 1 and East Panel 1 meeting at the center, leading out to East or West Panel 70.

Symbols on The Wall:

Each name is preceded (on the West Wall) or followed (on the East Wall) by a symbol designating status:

♦ The diamond symbol denotes that the service member’s death was confirmed.

+ Those whose names are designated by the cross symbol were in missing or prisoner status at the end of the war and remain missing and unaccounted for. In the event a service member’s remains are returned or he is otherwise accounted for, the diamond symbol is superimposed over the cross.

(+) If a service member returns alive, a circle, as a symbol of life, will be inscribed around the cross. No such cases have occurred though some men have been found to be alive with their names on The Wall due to clerical errors. To put a circle around their names would not give a correct historical context to the symbols.

Dots: The dots are used to help find a name and come in handy when one is looking for a name on a large panel. Each dot marks ten lines. The dots are located on the even-numbered panels.

Finding names on The Wall:

Finding a name or group of names on The Wall has never been easier.  Visit vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces or download “The Wall” app for your smartphone or smart device: Android | Apple

The Panel/Line gives the position of the name on The Wall. For example, to find Panel 17 East, Line 22: go to the middle of the Memorial, Panel 1 East. Continue walking to the right for 17 panels. (Every panel has the panel number listed at the bottom.) Go to the top of Panel 17 East. (On every other panel, there are dots to the right of the names, for eastern panels, and to the left for western panels, indicating every 10th line.) Go down two dots, indicating 20 lines, and then count down two more lines. You will now be able to find the name from Panel 17 East, Line 22.

Memorial design and symbolism:

  • The design for the memorial was determined through a nationwide competition in which Maya Lin, a 21-year-old architecture student, submitted the winning layout.
    Of local interest: Maya Lin also designed the Peace Chapel at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA
  • Maya Lin described The Wall as “a rift in the earth, a long, polished black stone wall, emerging from and receding into the earth.”  Symbolically, this is described as a “wound that is closed and healing.”
  • The mirror-like surface reflects the visitor in the names on the black granite walls, connecting the living to those lost.
  • The Memorial’s walls point to the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial, thus bringing the Memorial into the historical context of our country.
  • The names are inscribed in the chronological order of their dates of casualty, showing the war as a series of individual human sacrifices and giving each name a special place in history.

Thank you for planning to take this opportunity to honor, respect, and remember.  We hope your trip to the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall is educational and thought-provoking.

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