VVMF visits the 4ID
By Col. Steve Delp
Ann and Steve Delp represented the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund at the annual reunion of the 4th Infantry Division Association in Columbus, Georgia, July 17 through 20, where they joined several hundred 4th Division veterans and their families. The emphasis of their attendance was to inform the members of the status of the Education Center to be built on the Mall in Washington, DC, and the continuing need for donations to make the Center a reality. They also briefed on Faces Never Forgotten, the need for pictures of those whose names are on The Wall, as those pictures will become a significant part of the Center. Thus far, VVMF has obtained pictures of over 32,000 of the 58,000 names on the Wall. In addition, they presented briefings and brochures from the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project, a major effort to create video interviews of military veterans from around the country. The project has created some 50,000 such stories, and the Library is looking to create many thousands more.
We believe the VVMF representation was a major success as most if not all members stopped by to discuss the Center and Faces Never Forgotten, as well as to share experiences, mostly in Vietnam. The discussions rekindled memories, some happy and entertaining, as well as the remembrance of the sadness of war. They also pointed out a concern shared by most veterans’ organizations that the membership, largely from the Vietnam timeframe, is beginning to show its age. The 4ID leadership made it clear that their main task is to bring recent veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan into the association in order to share their experiences as well as to provide a new, and younger, outlook for the organization. The VVMF shares this concern as seen in our plan to represent those GWOT personnel in the Education Center until the organizations from those conflicts obtain the right to have their own memorials to express their military history.
While we met so many wonderful veterans and their families, one person in particular stands out in our minds. Her name is Susan McLean, and she was a Red Cross Donut Dolly in Vietnam during 1970 and ’71. She is now a teacher and youth activist in Florida. Throughout the reunion she always demonstrated the warm, bright, fun loving personality we came to expect from all who served as “Dollies” in Vietnam. Thanks, Susan, and don’t ever change!
It was a great week, and we look forward to working with the fine folks of the 4ID Association in the future, as well as joining many other organizations at their upcoming reunions.