While the fifth annual Hall of Fame Classic will bring a lot of fun to Cooperstown Saturday, with its switch to Memorial Day Weekend, the organizers wanted to do something special to honor local veterans as well.
The Wall that Heals, a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, will be on display for the weekend. Although there are other replicas of the wall that also travel, this is the only one that is directly affiliated with the Washington D.C. memorial. This version of the wall has never been on display in central New York.
“It is a very somber inclusion to the weekend, but we feel it can add something special to Memorial Day,” said Brad Horn, senior director for communications and education at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. “It will certainly enhance the salute to the military we are trying to achieve.”
According to Horn, the addition of the wall to the Classic weekend came together very quickly. About six weeks ago, while looking for partners and events to make sure the Classic set the right tone for the holiday, a contact in Washington made an introduction to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
The group, founded by veteran Jan C. Scruggs, built the Washington memorial and also the traveling version. It turned out that there was a hole in the schedule on Memorial Day. The VVMF and the village of Cooperstown each quickly gave approval, and the HOF had the solemn centerpiece for its weekend.
According to Scruggs’ bio, he served in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade of the U.S. Army and was wounded in Vietnam. In 1979, he came up with the memorial idea to heal a “different kind of wound — that inflicted on our national psyche by the long and controversial Asian war.”