DANBURY, Conn. (WTNH) -- A memorial honoring veterans of the Vietnam War will be on display in Danbury for the next few days.
The Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall is in place at Rogers Park on Memorial Drive.
"This is about as close as you can come to the one in D.C.," said Vietnam veteran Tim Winkler.
A three-quarter scale perfect replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington is on display in Danbury, but only for a few days.
"It gives an awareness to the young folks who really don't know," Winkler said.
An awareness that might not have happened if not for sponsors, donors, and volunteers, such as Erik Tiner of the Green Funeral Home in town.
"This is the third time that I've been involved with this wall, and I look at it, and I just look at all the names on that wall," he said.
"Vietnam veterans have always maintained that no veteran will ever come home and suffer the indignities that we suffered when we came back," Winkler said.
Among the 58,000-plus names is a son of Danbury, Navy Commander and fighter pilot LeGrande Ogden Cole. He was shot down June 30, 1967, and his remains were returned to the United States only about two years ago.
"We'll be providing people with rubbing paper and some pencils so they can go up to the wall and do a rubbing of the person's name," Tiner said.
School groups and disabled veterans were allowed to visit on Thursday. The memorial will open to the public Friday morning, and stay open 24 hours a day through Sunday. When it goes, a permanent memorial will be made, using mementos left by friends and loved ones.
"On Sunday, after closing ceremonies, we have a ceremony of removing everything from the wall, and we're placing it in to the vault, and then the cover will be placed on the vault, and it's going to be buried at the apex of the wall here," Tiner explained.
Hopefully a wellspring of healing for Vietnam veterans, who vow that no military member will suffer the dismissive reception they got when they came home.
"We'll always have a hurt in our souls over that," Winkler said. "So it's made it our point, purpose now, to not ever let that ever happen to a serviceman returning to this country."
For more information on this exhibit visit dmvietnamwall.com
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