The Legacy Lives On

On March 26, 2012, we commemorated the 30th anniversary of the groundbreaking for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The groundbreaking occurred in 1982 on a cold, windy day when 100 veterans with shovels all turned the earth in unison to start the construction of the Wall.

Back then, organizers and supporters of the effort spoke of “separating the war from the warrior,” VVMF Founder and President Jan Scruggs said during the ceremony. “This put the controversy concerning the divisive Vietnam War on a shelf as we dealt with a wholly different issue—elevating and celebrating the service of Vietnam veterans.”

Thirty years later, the mission of remembrance continues.

“This idea has had an impact as well on those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. While the wars remain unpopular and divisive, those returning are received back into society with appreciation for putting their lives at risk for the nation. This is as it should be,” Scruggs said.

On our YouTube channel, you can hear four prominent supporters of the Wall and VVMF speak about the legacy of the Wall and those names etched into the stone, but also looking to the future and putting faces to each of those names in the Education Center. Reps. Allen West (Florida) and Brett Guthrie (Kentucky) join retired Brig. Gen. George Price and retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey in sharing their thoughts on remembering the fallen of the Vietnam War during the 30th anniversary ceremony.

The final project is the Education Center at the Wall (www.buildthecenter.org). The Center will have within it photos of the casualties from Vietnam. We now have more than 30,000 of the pictures that we will need. Displays in the Center will also include photographs of those lost in Afghanistan and Iraq. Every day these soldiers will be honored at the Center, which will become a spiritual place for those who have fought in these wars.

Since the Wall was built, more than 250,000 items have been left at the Wall. Those items have been kept and maintained and many will be on display in the Education Center as part of a lasting tribute to those who gave all during Vietnam and those they left behind.

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