CCSD Welcomes The Wall That Heals to Arnold Mill Elementary School

CCSD Welcomes The Wall That Heals to Arnold Mill Elementary School

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Russ Johnson shows his grandson, Arnold Mill Elementary School third-grader Holden Turman, the name on The Wall That Heals of one of his fellow Marines he served with in the Vietnam War. The Wall, a 250-foot, half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., is open to the public 24 hours a day until the display closes at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20.

NOTE: A recorded Facebook Live video from this morning’s ceremony is posted on CCSD’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CherokeeGASchools/

A large crowd of Vietnam War veterans and their families joined the Cherokee County School District in welcoming The Wall That Heals to Arnold Mill Elementary School today for its first-ever visit to the Woodstock community.

The 250-foot replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., along with a mobile education center, is being displayed at the school by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund through 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20.  The display is open to the public 24 hours a day, with lighting to allow evening viewing.

The official welcome ceremony on Thursday morning featured keynote speaker, the Rev. Robert Certain, a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel who was held as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.

The Rev. Certain has served as a military chaplain, parish priest and as an independent advisor to several cabinet-level federal departments.  He also is an author and speaker, and has been called to such roles as leading the memorial services and presiding over the burial of President Gerald R. Ford and delivering the invocation at the 2008 Republican National Convention.

“When you look at a name, you see the name, but if you shift your focus just a little bit, you see your own face,” the Rev. Certain said in his remarks, as he spoke of the power of visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which The Wall That Heals replicates in a half-scale model.  “That’s a reminder, that’s why it draws us in, that’s why I’ve never seen anyone walk that path without touching it.  It brings us into it.”

“That’s part of the healing power of this Wall,” the Rev. Certain said, reflecting upon his own first visit to the Memorial and seeing the names of soldiers who he fought alongside.  “The fact that you can be one with that other person… because their lives are written across your body.”

During The Wall’s stay at the school, students from Arnold Mill and schools throughout CCSD will visit it and the mobile education center, which houses artifacts and displays, to experience a tangible reinforcement of the history lessons they learn in classrooms.

“What an impact this will have on them for their entire life,” School Board Chair Kyla Cromer said in her remarks at the welcome ceremony.  “And what an impact this display will have on the entire community…  for many a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pay tribute to our Vietnam veterans.  Some may seem names of loved ones, perhaps a brother, a father or a grandfather or even a friend who fought alongside you but didn’t come home.  This Wall helps heal those still broken hearts.”

The welcome ceremony also included patriotic songs by the school’s chorus and remarks from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, Cherokee County Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens and Principal Daniel H. Fuller.  John Newport, Commandant for the Marine Corps League Detachment in Woodstock, shared a poem, with the colors presented by the River Ridge High School Junior ROTC and Taps played by Roger Spitz of Bugles Across America.

“When I walked The Wall this morning, I saw Sanchezes next to Schwartzes to Johnsons to Patowskis… people from all walks of life,” Dr. Hightower said.  “So to me, these names represent someone’s child, someone’s sibling, someone’s classmate, someone’s parent, someone’s friend, someone’s fellow soldier.  When we leave, may we depart with a sense of lasting gratitude for the heroes represented on this wall.  They paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”

The Wall arrived on campus on Wednesday, escorted into Cherokee County by the Patriot Guard, Warrior Watch, Cherokee Sheriff’s Office and Woodstock Police Department.  It was welcomed onto campus by students, teachers, veterans groups and the CCSD School Police Department.  Donations from the school community are funding the event, and donations still are being accepted by the school.

First-grader Corbin Mahon cheered with his classmates as The Wall arrived at his school on Wednesday.

“It seems very exciting,” he said, as his classmates chanted “U.S.A.”  And he understands why The Wall is so special.  “The Wall honors the soldiers who died in the war.”

Principal Fuller said the experience has been an extraordinary one for everyone at the school.

“We love our veterans,” Principal Fuller said as The Wall arrived.  He wore a T-shirt that read “Heroes Don’t Wear Capes, They Wear Dog Tags,” which was made for school staff and volunteers for the event.  “This is about the veterans and showing our support.”

The Wall’s presence and the welcome ceremony were very much appreciated by veterans, Commandant Newport said.

“This was such an undertaking, and they did an awesome job,” he said of the school’s staff and volunteers.  “The kids who will see this… it’s just so meaningful.”

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Rev. Robert Certain, a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel who was held as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, as keynote speaker for the welcome ceremony describes the design of The Wall and the significance of the order in which the names are inscribed.

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Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower takes a moment of quiet reflection at The Wall before the ceremony begins.

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John Newport, Commandant for the Marine Corps League Detachment in Woodstock, shares a moving poem about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

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School Board Chair Kyla Cromer, left, and School Board Member Kelly Poole look at names on a panel of The Wall.

 

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Dozens of veterans and their families attend the welcome ceremony for The Wall.

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Arnold Mill Elementary School students line the parking lot and cheer the arrival on Wednesday morning of The Wall and its motorcycle escort by Patriot Guard and Warrior Watch members.

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Arnold Mill Elementary School students line the parking lot and cheer the arrival on Wednesday morning of The Wall and its motorcycle escort by Patriot Guard and Warrior Watch members.

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Arnold Mill Elementary School students line the parking lot and cheer the arrival on Wednesday morning of The Wall and its motorcycle escort by Patriot Guard and Warrior Watch members.

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A veteran stops to read one of the exhibits that line the exterior of The Wall That Heals truck, which transforms into a mobile education center.

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Principal Daniel Fuller, right, talks on Wednesday with Tim Tetz, Director of Outreach for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, about the logistics of where The Wall will be assembled on the school grounds.


The Wall That Heals Displayed at Arnold Mill ES Nov. 17-20

UPDATE: A Facebook Live video from the Wall’s arrival on Nov. 16, 2016 at Arnold Mill ES is posted on CCSD’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CherokeeGASchools/

A former Vietnam War POW will be the guest speaker at the welcome ceremony for The Wall That Heals at Arnold Mill Elementary School next week.

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The Rev. Robert Certain

The Rev. Robert Certain, a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel who was held as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, will speak at the welcome ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 17.

The 250-foot replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, along with a mobile education center, is being displayed at the school by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

The Rev. Certain has served as a military chaplain, parish priest and as an independent advisor to several cabinet-level federal departments.  He also is an author and speaker, and has been called to such roles as leading the memorial services and presiding over the burial of President Gerald R. Ford and delivering the invocation at the 2008 Republican National Convention.

The welcome ceremony also will include patriotic songs by the school’s chorus and remarks from School Board Chair Kyla Cromer, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower and Principal Daniel Fuller.  John Newport, Commandant for the Marine Corps League Detachment in Woodstock, will share a poem, with the presentation of colors by the River Ridge High School Junior ROTC and the playing of Taps.

The Wall is scheduled to arrive on campus, with a Patriot Guard and Warrior Watch escort (Northpoint Parkway to Highway 92 to Trickum Road to Arnold Mill Road), at approximately 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16.  A media briefing is planned for 11 a.m., and the Wall then will be erected over the course of four hours.

Following the welcome ceremony on Nov. 17, the display then will be open to the public to view at no charge through 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20.  The school is at 710 Arnold Mill Road, Woodstock 30188.

Donations from the school community are funding the event, and donations still are being accepted.

For more information about the Rev. Certain, visit his website: http://www.unchainedeagle.com

Here’s more information from the Memorial Fund:
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the most visited memorial in our Nation’s Capital, with more than four million visitors each year. However, many Americans have not been able to visit what has become known to many as “The Wall.” The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the organization that built The Wall, wants to give all veterans and their family members all across America an opportunity to see the Memorial through The Wall That Heals display.

Since its debut in 1996, more than two million people have visited The Wall That Heals sites. The replica Wall is approximately 250 feet in length, and like the original Memorial is erected in a chevron-shape. The names on The Wall That Heals replicate the names on The Wall in Washington, D.C. As on The Wall, the names are listed alphabetically by day of casualty.

The exhibit also includes a mobile Education Center comprised of: photos of service members whose names are found on The Wall; letters and memorabilia left at The Wall in D.C.; a map of Vietnam and a chronological overview of the conflict in Vietnam. The exhibits tell the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the era surrounding the conflict, and are designed to put American experiences in Vietnam in a historical and cultural context.


The Wall That Heals Display Coming to Arnold Mill ES

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The Wall That Heals Vietnam Veterans memorial display will be exhibited at Arnold Mill ES from Nov. 17-20.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund will bring The Wall That Heals display to Arnold Mill Elementary School next month!

The 250-foot replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, along with a mobile education center, will be installed outside the school building on Nov. 16, and open to the public at no charge from Nov. 17 to 20.

Here’s more information from the Memorial Fund:
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the most visited memorial in our Nation’s Capital, with more than four million visitors each year. However, many Americans have not been able to visit what has become known to many as “The Wall.” The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the organization that built The Wall, wants to give all veterans and their family members all across America an opportunity to see the Memorial through The Wall That Heals display.

Since its debut in 1996, more than two million people have visited The Wall That Heals sites. The replica Wall is approximately 250 feet in length, and like the original Memorial is erected in a chevron-shape. The names on The Wall That Heals replicate the names on The Wall in Washington, D.C. As on The Wall, the names are listed alphabetically by day of casualty.

The exhibit also includes a mobile Education Center comprised of: photos of service members whose names are found on The Wall; letters and memorabilia left at The Wall in D.C.; a map of Vietnam and a chronological overview of the conflict in Vietnam. The exhibits tell the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall and the era surrounding the conflict, and are designed to put American experiences in Vietnam in a historical and cultural context.