Vietnam Widow Donates to Build the Education Center at The Wall

Linda Wyant Fujitani and Alfred Cornejo were high school sweethearts at San Mateo High School in San Mateo, Calif. Eager to begin their lives together, they married just after graduation. But the Vietnam War began to encroach upon their lives. As the draft began to draw more and more young men into the Army, “I realized with resignation, he would be drafted,” Linda said.

PFC Cornejo was an infantryman with C Company 3rd Battalion 60th Infantry Division of the 9th Infantry of the US Army. “He served willingly,” Linda said. Although she only hoped he wouldn’t be injured or killed.

Only four months after beginning his tour in Vietnam in April 1967, Alfred was killed by an explosion on August 20, 1967.

After Alfred’s death, Linda remarried and moved to Honolulu, Hawaii. Years later, while travelling with her new husband, Linda would make her first visit to The Wall in Washington, D.C..  “It was such a peaceful place for people who were touched by Vietnam or touched by war itself,” Linda said.

This week the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund accepted a gracious donation and a photograph of Alfred from Linda as part of the Faces Never Forgotten program.

The Faces Never Forgotten program attempts to locate photographs of each of the 58,282 service members honored on The Wall and it includes an effort to raise money to fund the construction of the Education Center at The Wall. With Alfred’s picture, VVMF has collected 10 of the 25 photos from San Mateo, Calif.

The Education Center at The Wall will be a place on our National Mall where our military heroes’ stories and sacrifice will never be forgotten.  It is a multi-million dollar, state-of- the-art visitor’s center and learning facility to be built between the Vietnam Veterans and Lincoln Memorials. Visitors will better understand the profound impact the Vietnam War had on their friends and family members, their hometowns and the nation. The Center will feature the faces and stories of the 58,282 men and women on The Wall, honoring those who fell in Vietnam, those who fought and returned, as well as the friends and families of all who served.

“It so important to have the Education Center so the veterans and families have a place to tell their story,” Linda said. “It will tell the sacrifices and costs and what is involved when a nation goes to war.  I am happy to do my small part to tell the story of Alfred and me.”

To learn more about the Faces Never Forgotten campaign, click here.