From Bravery to Patriotism: A retrspective of the Wall that Heals

Larry Stimeling

I'm baaaaaaack

It has been a while since I have posted a blog entry. There are several reasons for this.

1. I have been very busy with The Wall That Heals and other veteran events

2. The new design of the Times website

3 Family obligations

No matter what the reasons I am happy to say that I am back.


The display of the Wall That Heals during the Pumpkin Festival was a huge success. My thanks to the sponsors, the volunteers, The Morton Public Library, The Chamber of Commerce, The businesses that supplied needed goods and services and the people of Morton.

During the closing ceremony I had one of the guests who had an exhibit tell me that he loves Morton and will come back whenever I ask.

The Driver of the semi that hauls the wall told me that He has been to 78 displays and this was the best site he has ever been to. "This was a large city production in a small town atmosphere."

While you might think I am patting myself on the back, I am actually paying compliment to the city I call home. I did very little to make this event happen. I made a few phone calls to set things in motion and everything fell into place.

We had over 8,000 visitors and nearly 800 students at the wall in a four day run. For a town of less than 17,000 that is pretty good.

In comparison, I was in Springfield in May for a Friday and Saturday while the wall was hosted by a state headquarters of a Veteran Organization on that Friday there was only one school class of 39 students and less that 100 other visitors. On Saturday there were no students and less than 250 visitors. The week before our event in Morton, A similar wall was in Delavan on the high school grounds. I went during school hours and only saw 6 kids visit the wall. I would think that the school would have all its students there (perhaps they did I was only there one afternoon). This past weekend I was in Wheaton Illinois at the home of the First Infantry Division Museum. Again I was there Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I was told that Friday was busier than Thursday. Friday had 29 students. The final count for the Wheaton display was 3000 visitors.Wheaton is triple the size of Morton, yet only 37.5% the number of visitors.

With these numbers in mind, I want to thank all those who came to the Wall That Heals at the Morton Library during the Morton Pumpkin Festival 2012. Peace love and pumpkins...... but remember not everyone wore love beads in the 60s and 70s; some of us wore dog tags!!!