(Update: Adding video, comments)
Will be open to the public starting Wednesday afternoon
La PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- After a long, 2 1/2-year community effort by many across Central Oregon, The Wall That Heals, a Vietnam Veterans Memorial Replica and Mobile Education Center, has arrived at its new, temporary home in La Pine and will be open to the public Wednesday for the next several days.
The Wall was transported by trailer throughout the streets of La Pine Tuesday afternoon, escorted by hundreds of motorcyclists, classic cars and law enforcement, as onlookers waving American flags cheered the long-awaited arrival.
A couple from the American Legion Riders, John and Nancy Karriker, said they were honored to be a part of the motorcade.
"Overwhelmed with pride," John Karriker said.
The two tailed the trailer delivering the Wall as the flag-bearers, an honor they did not take lightly.
"Able to touch the Wall and stuff is like a healing process you can't imagine," Karriker said. "You get to see all these gentlemen that went and fought overseas, over in Vietnam. You get to see all their emotions. You can't help but cry with them."
The Wall is a three-quarter-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and once assembled will stand at 7.5 feet tall and 375 feet long for community members to engage with until Sunday.
For many veterans and citizens alike, it's a time of remembrance, and in some cases healing, as those who visit the Wall will have the ability to touch the names of those who were lost in the Vietnam War.
Those who served in other U.S. wars will be paying their respects as well, like Air Force Veteran William Reeder.
""I wanted to thank all the Vietnam veterans that are out there watching this," Reeder said. "And I wanted them to know that because of the way that they were treated -- poorly -- they made certain that guys like me who came back from other wars were not treated the same way."
Reeder says he would not be where he is today without the ultimate sacrifices made by those in Vietnam.