OK, The Wall That Heals is a big deal.

OK, The Wall That Heals is a big deal.

When it was first announced last year that Blue Springs was going to host this event (the first time for the city), I thought, “Well, good, I’ve seen a replica of the real thing before. Yeah, I’ve seen it twice when I lived in Ohio, and it is pretty emotional and good for all sorts of reasons – most of all for the men and women who served, those who need closure.”

I was living and working at a paper in northeast Ohio, when I first saw it. The city of Salem is the city I’m talking about, and I helped cover it for the paper. The replica wasn’t the same replica that’s scheduled to arrive in Blue Springs next week in Pink Hill Park from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, but that wall and this wall have the same goal in mind.

There were many emotional moments – not so much for me, but rather the people who came to look at it, as though they were moths to the flame. Some came in the morning, others came at night. Some even came in the deepest part   of night to pay their respects, silently walking up to it and putting their fingertips on the stone and its etchings.

So when I heard that Blue Springs was hosting a version of it, I thought, “Been there, done that.”

I was wrong.

I mean really wrong.

Blue Springs is treating this event like it’s the World’s Fair or the opening of the new Arrowhead Stadium. Just last Monday night the City Council was told that organizers are expecting as many as 75,000 people to attend this event, which is almost a quarter more than the city’s population.

City officials on Monday night rightfully acknowledged the deeper meaning of this event, but they also acknowledged how the event will help the local economy. From lodging to dining, the four-day event will help showcase some of the city’s main attractions – one of which will be one of the city’s dozen parks.

Aside from all the adults running this show, there are also a number of local kids who are contributing.

Get a load of this.

This past summer, elementary and middle school students in the Blue Springs School District painted more than 20 trash cans that will be placed in and around the site at Pink Hill Park. The project was part of the district’s enrichment program held during the summer, specifically the art class.

“The students were asked if they wanted to get involved in some way, and this was their opportunity to help play a part,” Annette Seago, deputy superintendent of the district, said.

Each can has been painted a solid color with the words “Welcome Home” on each. Each can has a school logo on it, too, depending on which group painted it.

Students also will play a part in the first two awakening ceremonies on Thursday and Friday mornings, when they will read first-, second- and third-place essays written by students and adults.

The Examiner has contributed, too. Readers should look in this Saturday’s edition for a special section devoted to the event, one that the newspaper has called one of the most significant events to be held in Eastern Jackson County.

For more information about resource, volunteer and contribution information about The Wall That Heals, visit www.bluespringswallthatheals.net or call 655-0490.


Recycling closed

To make way for The Wall That Heals event, the new recycling center at Pink Hill Park will be closed Oct. 2-3.

However, the center will be open Sept. 29 prior to the event and will re-open after the event on Oct. 6.

The Recycling Center at Pink Hill Park is open to the public Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.