Finally a Fitting Tribute by Jan C. Scruggs

For almost 30 years, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial has been an unequalled place of remembrance.  Each year, millions of people visit the memorial. Most of them have their own story that brought them there. Here is one of those stoires…

“Several years ago, some buddies and I travelled to Washington, DC, wanting to be part of the 10th Anniversary of The Wall. We were all members of our local VFW and we had one major thing in common, we’re all Vietnam veterans. Finally, we were going to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and pay our respects. 

 We arrived in DC late in the evening, the day before the event. After a long flight, we went straight to the hotel. However, one of the guys with us, a Marine, had a different plan for that night. He was on a mission.

In Vietnam, this Marine’s buddy gave him an American flag and asked him to take good care of it. In case anything happened to him, he wanted his friend to promise to bring the flag back home for his family. Unfortunately, his friend never returned alive, and since then, my buddy had been holding on to the flag. He had carried that flag with him for over 20 years, waiting for the right time to return the flag and finally say goodbye. 

He was finally in Washington, DC, and didn’t want to put off his duty any longer. Realizing that the 10th Anniversary celebration wouldn’t be the right time for a solemn, personal moment, he decided to make a visit to The Wall that very night.

He made his way to the Memorial and arrived after midnight, not expecting to see another soul in front of the monument at that time of night. But the Marine was wrong, and he noticed several men in dark suites standing around the monument, surrounding the place.  The men in suits, of course, were Secret Service Agents. And standing there, gazing upon the black granite, was George H.W. Bush.

So together, this Marine alongside the President of the United States placed his friend’s flag in front of The Wall, finally paying a fitting tribute to a fallen hero, and saying goodbye.”

 -Ron Chatelain

Ron’s story of his friend is very touching and just a single page out of the volumes of stories told by many people visiting The Wall.  I thank Ron for his personal story, and I encourage everyone else with a story to share it with us. Post it on our Facebook page for all to read, or send it in an email to

But don’t stop there. Please get involved and help VVMF guarantee that stories like this will live on. Send us a photo. Volunteer to find the photos of all fallen heroes from your community. Post a remembrance of a hero you knew. And if you are able, please also consider a financial contribution to help us build the Education Center at The Wall, a place on our National Mall where our military heroes’ stories and sacrifice will NEVER be forgotten. Learn more by clicking here: