Georgetown Students Erect Replica Vietnam Memorial on Campus

Monday, 14 Oct 2013 04:32 PM

By Andrea Billups

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Visitors to Washington, D.C., still can see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, although the original memorial on the National Mall remains closed by the government shutdown.

The Georgetown University Student Veterans Association and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund have created an aluminum replica of the memorial on campus, The Washington Times reports.

Like the original, "The Wall That Heals" traveling replica contains the names of nearly 60,000 war dead, among them 23 Georgetown alumni.

The campus replica is open to visitors through Monday. A free shuttle takes visitors to campus from the Mall.

The traveling replica, about 250 feet long, has been on the road around the nation since 1996, but has only visited the nation's capital once, Washington's reported. It travels about 30,000 miles a year, drawing attention to the service of Vietnam vets.

"It is consistent with Georgetown's long tradition of supporting the military — from hosting the area's Army ROTC program to choosing school colors that would bring the opposing sides of the Civil War together," 2002 alumnus Peter Franz, a biotechnology executive, told the Times, noting he was happy to see his alma mater rise above the partisan fray.

"It is fantastic to see Georgetown and the VVMF work together to overcome petty politics that would otherwise prevent visitors to D.C. from experiencing this Memorial," Frantz said.

Georgetown has a tradition of unity, making the makeshift memorial a perfect symbol honoring its history, the Times reported. The Catholic Jesuit school changed its colors at the end of the Civil War after its enrollment fell from 313 to just 17 students. Students at the time opted for Union blue and Confederate gray, in an effort to showcase the school's desire to come together.

The VVMF, which sponsored the traveling exhibit, is currently raising funds to build a $100 million Education Center at the Wall.

Veterans, angry citizens, and members of Congress have stormed the monuments in protest against the federal shutdown, saying it is disgraceful to deny entry to places honoring the nation's heroes for their service to the country.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas joined the crowds on Sunday to speak out against the closures, The Washington Post reported.

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