Friday, February 17, 2012

Guest Post From Vietnam Veterans Memorial Founder Jan Scruggs: "Please Join Gen. Barry McCaffrey and Me and Help Us Remember the Legacy of Service" in Vietnam

Daniel Case in Vietnam. His name is engraved on The Wall.
Many years ago, my longtime pal Jan Scruggs invited my daughter Courtney to speak at a Congressional breakfast on Capitol Hill. Courtney had to stand on a milk carton in order to see over the podium, but she made her point, asking lawmakers to build an education center at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Now, with the education center set to break ground this year, Jan is a guest at my place. He doesn't need to stand on a milk carton to deliver his important message, but I'm more than happy to supply the soap box. Or billboard. Or forum. In any case... Take it away, Jan...

My name is Jan C. Scruggs, Founder and President of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Thirty years ago, I helped build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This monument healed millions with the engravings on a black granite wall. Now, I am taking those names and putting a story and picture behind it in a new museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC: the Education Center at The Wall.

The Education Center at The Wall will change the people who visit it. For the nearly 40 percent of visitors who weren’t even born when The Wall was completed, it will transform the long list of names cut in the smooth black granite. Instead of simply names, visitors will see the faces and know the stories of the 58,000 heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War.

Through interactive exhibits and primary source materials, visitors will be able to better understand the profound impact the Vietnam War had on their family members, their home towns, their communities and the nation. Visitors will understand the importance of The Wall and the role it continues to play in healing the deep physical, emotional and societal wounds left by the war.

One of those interactive exhibits is called the Call for Photos. VVMF is trying to collect every single photograph of each person on The Wall. People are sending us photographs daily, along with personal remembrances. Here is one we recently received. It was written for Daniel Case, from Kirk C. Allison:

‘This is what your parents, Novella and Casius, called you when they spoke of you. I was halfway to ten, benefiting from their kindness at Broadway Christian Church in Wichita. They mentioned your being on the riverboat, but did not speak often or in detail as the weeks passed. One Sunday, they did not teach the class - we were told they had received news: you had been seriously wounded. Some time passed; then I was told that you had died - their only son and child. Before that time I did not know the face of death, and did not know what to expect. I still remember you as you lay in state - your very noble face. As they now have joined you in death, having continued to live with their sorrow very quietly and with great kindness (faithful to the Resurrection and Life), in this Memorial Day's night and early morning, it is good to remember you, their loving kindness, and great sacrifice.’ 

It’s my goal to share Kirk’s submission in the Education Center, so generations to come can know the legacy of this great patriot. It’s also my goal to break ground on the Education Center this Veterans Day.

In order to raise the rest of the needed funds so we can break ground, from now until Veterans Day, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) is issuing a Service Branch Challenge. The challenge is for each of us to support the Education Center and show pride in one of the branches of the service.

General Barry McCaffrey, USA (Ret) has agreed to lead the charge for the US Army, in their efforts. “The Education Center at The Wall will be a place where our fallen comrades and their stories will live on forever,” said McCaffrey. “I’m proud to lend my support and encourage those who love the US Army to get involved. Supporters of the Army are already leading the way, and have donated more than $21,000. I challenge leaders of the other branches to step up to try and catch us.”

Join Gen. McCaffrey and me in some good natured competiveness and help us remember the legacy of service made by all 9,000,000 million men and women who served with the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard during the Vietnam War Era.

Jan C. Scruggs,
President and Founder of VVMF


Marine Guy said...

A very worthwhile project. Thank you Jan Scruggs for doing this. Thank you, Susan, for spreading the word.

Nick said...

I second that. Thank you.