SURPRISE, Ariz. (KSAZ) - It is referred to as "the wall that heals", and the traveling Vietnam Memorial wall is back in the Valley.
It has been displayed in nearly 600 communities nationwide. The replica is at Mark Coronado Park in Surprise.
It opened this morning and will available for the public to view through Monday.
There are 58,318 names on the memorial, and among them is Francis Bond, a childhood friend of Paul Bernard's
"He was wounded once, returned after being taken care of at the hospital, returned to Vietnam, that's where he passed away. I believe it was 1970," said Bernard.
Decades later, the emotions still run high for those who survived like Bernard, a Navy veteran who is grateful for the opportunity for one more trip back in time, a look at a replica of of the Vietnam Memorial that stands in Washington, D.C.
"Maybe allow some people to be enlightened of things that happened," said Paul Frie with the City of Surprise.
Frie says bringing the traveling memorial here took years of planning. Volunteers spent all morning assembling it. The replica was unveiled on Veterans Day in 1996 by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial fund, so those who can't travel to D.C. can honor the men and women who served in Vietnam. People like Robert Webber, who completed three tours.
"When we first came back, Vietnam veterans were not treated nicely," said Webber.
"The kids today don't remember Vietnam, for sure most of the grandparents do," said Bernard, who eventually found his friend's name on panel 9W, line 68
Bernard's hope is that every name, every panel on every line is remembered, and recognized for their sacrifice.