GARDINER — About four dozen volunteers from around the region gathered on Wednesday at the Gardiner Common to help assemble the Wall that Heals, a scaled-down version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that stands next to the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The mobile memorial arrived Tuesday by truck, escorted from the Chelsea Town Hall to the VA Maine Healthcare System — Togus campus for a blessing and to the Gardiner Common by supporters of veterans and veterans’ causes, such as the Patriot Riders of America Maine Chapter Two. Despite the rain, well-wishers holding flags and waving greeted the procession on its 6-mile trip from Togus to Gardiner, where U.S. flags and flags from the military service branches have been hung on the rails that encircle the Common.

Volunteers spent several hours setting the individual panels in place in the framework that spans the Gardiner Common from its northern end near Christ Church toward the southern end near St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. The opening ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, and the wall will remain standing on the Common until Sunday. Visitors are welcome around the clock.

Organizers are urging people to avoid walking behind the wall and to avoid cellphone conversations in its vicinity.

The wall was brought to Gardiner, its only stop in Maine this year, through the efforts of Friends of Christ Church, which submitted the request, raised money and gathered volunteers to staff the multi-day event.


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