The Wall that Heals brings sentiment, reflection to Randolph County

Ken Watson, left, Martha Trogdon Watson and Eddie Trogdon hold up a sign honoring fallen family member Ronald G. Trogdon. (PJ Ward-Brown / Randolph Record)

ASHEBORO – They came for many reasons, but those gathering across several days at The Wall that Heals have something in common.

They want to recognize the sacrifices of Vietnam War veterans and pay tribute to the military in general.

The Wall that Heals has been set up on the baseball field at South Asheboro Middle School since Wednesday and will be there until 2 p.m. Sunday.

“It’s more than I expected,” said Shawn Parrish, a Randleman resident who had served in the Air Force.

Renee Corder, left, and Carlene Corder found the name of a serviceman from Seagrove. (Bob Sutton / Randolph Record)

Asheboro’s Carlene and Renee Corder arrived with a specific purpose. They wanted to honor Charles R. Chriscoe, who grew up with Carlene in the Seagrove community.

“It’s a lot of names,” Carlene Corder said after finding Chriscoe’s name on the wall.

Clarence York of Asheboro and Edith Swear of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., check The Wall that Heals in Asheboro. (PJ Ward-Brown / Randolph Record)

The Wall that Heals is a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington that travels around the country. The names of 58,281 men and women who died in the Vietnam War are listed.

“It’s something you should come and see if you can’t go to Washington,” Renee Corder said.

Rita Honeycutt, a veteran service officer for Randolph County Veterans Services, said it’s special having the wall in Randolph County.

“We’ve tried to push it out as much as possible to get the word out,” Honeycutt said. “A lot of veterans can’t get to Washington to experience it.”

Honeycutt said state Sen. David Craven Jr., who spoke during the opening ceremony, was heavily involved in the process of supporting the bid to get the wall to Asheboro and in obtaining corresponding sponsorships.

The grounds are open to visitors around the clock through early Sunday afternoon. Group tours with a short program are available – for instance, those were conducted at 10:30 p.m. Thursday and 3 a.m. Friday upon demand. It’s free to attend.

During the first 48 hours, more than 1,000 people had visited The Wall that Heals and accompanying museum / mobile education center set up outside the middle school. Using a database of deceased veterans, volunteers are on hand to help visitors locate specific names on the wall.

Honeycutt said the application process to have the wall in Asheboro began in April 2023. Honeycutt said her office learned of the bid’s acceptance in November and worked on many details since then.

Michael Kane looks at names on The Wall that Heals. (PJ Ward-Brown / Randolph Record)

Earlier in the week, The Wall that Heals was escorted by perhaps 200 motorcyclists representing American Legion Riders, Combat Veteran Riders AmVet Riders and others from Creekside Park in Archdale to Asheboro, where it was assembled with the assistance of some Vietnam War veterans.

“I was always interested in going to the Wall,” said Parrish, an Air Force veteran who visited with his son and daughter.

Chris and Joanne Corsbie of Asheboro stopped by to reflect on that era and the commitments made by so many.

“We were both in high school during the Vietnam War and we wanted to support this,” Joanne Corsbie said. “We knew people who fought. Fortunately, they came home.”

“What I really like about this is it’s continued recognition of these folks,” Chris Corsbie said. “I was very impressed.”

Asheboro is the only site in North Carolina for The Wall that Heals among 33 communities nationally in 2024. The next stop for The Wall that Heals is in Biddeford, Maine.

In conjunction with The Wall that Heals, there are other displays at the mobile education center. (Bob Sutton / Randolph Record)


By Bob Sutton