Michigan native and fallen Vietnam army man James Fowler would have been proud of his home state this week.
The former Rockwood resident and employee of the Dearborn Ford plant is—along with thousands of other servicemembers—being honored this week as The Wall That Heals opens in Dearborn.
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Each of the of 2,663 Michiganders who died in the Vietnam War has a name on the wall, a replica of the Washington, D.C., memorial. Fowler's work gloves from his time at the Ford plant sit nearby in the memorial's traveling museum for visitors to view, "in recognition of a better time."
The public was welcomed to view the wall and find the names of loved ones beginning Thursday morning at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn. The memorial opened with a ceremony attended by local business leaders, city and state officials, as well as veterans and those currently serving.
The names of all fallen Michigan Vietnam soldiers will be read throughout the memorial's time in Dearborn.
City leaders shared that The Wall That Heals, which travels around the country, last came to Dearborn in 2000. Mayor Jack O'Reilly said they're honored to host it again.
"Every one of those people (serving in Vietnam) was given a sendoff in this community," O'Reilly said of the city's history of supporting servicemembers and veterans. "In Dearborn, (veterans) have a home and they have a community."
Special guest Jan Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, agreed.
"This is certainly a patriotic city," he said at the Thursday morning ceremony. "This city and (Ford Motor) Company have always celebrated veterans."
The Wall That Heals will be on display for around the clock viewing in front of Ford World Headquarters through 8 a.m. Monday, Oct. 29. It is located just north of Michigan Avenue, west of Mercury Drive, at 1 American Road. Visitor parking is free.