Because of you: A look back at 2020
Because of you, VVMF can carry out its mission to honor and preserve the legacy of service in America and educate all generations about the impact of the Vietnam War and era. The past year was challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it had on VVMF’s in-person programs and events, but we found innovative ways to connect with our supporters and continue our mission.
A few highlights of what we accomplished in 2020 because of YOU:
· The Wall That Heals exhibit visited five communities in four states before the remainder of the 2020 season was cancelled. New displays were unveiled in 2020 as part of the traveling exhibit that include items that help tell the story of the war and its impact on service members and their families. Of the nearly 50,000 visitors, nearly 2,000 students received personalized educational tours on the Vietnam War, the Memorial and the legacy of service.
· Recognized the repatriation of three service members on The Wall who were accounted for in 2019 and changed their statuses on The Wall accordingly.
· At the direction of the Department of Defense, VVMF added three names to The Wall in September. These service members will be recognized at VVMF’s next in-person ceremony at The Wall.
· Honored 591 Vietnam veterans through VVMF’s In Memory program for veterans who died from Vietnam-related causes after returning home. The total number now honored through In Memory is more than 4,700 veterans. The 2020 ceremony had to be cancelled but family members and friends of 2020 honorees will be invited to attend a ceremony to honor their loved ones in 2021.
· Held our first-ever Agent Orange Awareness Day on August 10th – the anniversary of the first day that Agent Orange was thought to be sprayed in Vietnam. A small group of VVMF staff laid more than 1,700 candles at the Memorial site, bringing awareness and encouraging others to do the same in their community. Videos shared from Agent Orange Awareness Day at The Wall have reached more than 100,000 views.
· Expanded our online education pages with new topic pages on Allies in Action, the Battle of la Drang, Dogs of the Vietnam War, the Draft, Helicopters and more. A dozen topic pages were added in 2020 with more to come in 2021.
· Retained an Object Conservator to clean and care for the Three Servicemen Statue and In Memory plaque five times throughout the year.
· Retained a lawn care company to fertilize and enhance the grass on the three-acre site of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
· Commemorated national Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 29th with our first virtual ceremony of the year. User-submitted videos poured in to say “welcome home” to our Vietnam veterans and the ceremony has now been viewed more than 50,000 times.
· Hosted more than 1 million visitors on our website, VVMF.org, to learn about the Vietnam War, those on The Wall and those who have died since returning home.
· Hosted virtual ceremonies for Memorial Day and Veterans Day to honor all those who have served and sacrificed. Supporters were asked to participate in both ceremonies and storytelling became the main focus of these ceremonies that allowed us to expand our reach to more than 120,000 views.
· Laid 3,300 roses at The Wall on Father’s Day to honor the fathers on The Wall, those that never had the chance to become fathers, and those fathers who returned home and later died as a result of their service. A small group of staff and volunteers managed the rose laying due to the pandemic. A video to share the rose laying activity with our supporters has been viewed 17,000 times.
· Partnered with Sons and Daughters In Touch to host a virtual ceremony on Father’s Day that has been viewed more than 27,000 times. The ceremony was a touching tribute from those with fathers on The Wall.
· We were able to successfully meet all three of our matching gift goals provided by our generous anonymous donors (Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Giving Tuesday).
· Increased the number of members in our Facebook group for In Memory families to nearly 9,000 friends and family of Vietnam veterans so they can connect and share their stories of love and loss.
· Created the first-ever virtual Reading of the Names of In Memory Honor Roll honorees. This expanded the reach of our traditional in-person name reading to more than 49,000 people across the country.
· Through the tireless efforts of hundreds of volunteers throughout the nation, we located the first photograph for more than 200 service members on the Wall of Faces. In addition, nearly 1,000 new or improved photographs were found replacing poor quality photos previously in the collection. As we look towards 2021, only about 100 service members whose names are inscribed on The Wall remain without a photograph.
· Partnered with the National League of POW/MIA Families to host a virtual ceremony in honor of POW/MIA Recognition Day. Videos poured in from supporters when we asked them to tell us about their POW/MIA bracelets. The ceremony has now been seen by more than 10,000 viewers.
· Partnered with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial volunteers to produce a virtual Christmas Tree at The Wall ceremony that has been seen by more than 25,000 viewers.
· Updated our mobile tour app to give those who can’t make it to Washington a chance to virtually visit and learn about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and those inscribed on it.
· Added a “Stories from The Wall and the War” section on the VVMF website to feature stories of those who served in Vietnam.
· Provided nearly 2,000 free name rubbings for those that can’t make it to The Wall.
· Produced a new Wall Talk Tour of the Memorial that looks at the history, design, symbolism and power of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and gives those who can’t travel to Washington, D.C. an in-depth tour at the touch of a button.
· VVMF’s education efforts went virtual in 2020 with schools going virtual and it provided a unique opportunity for online lessons on the history of The Wall and items left behind. Our education director presented to 76 middle school classrooms and 23 high school classrooms and hosted our very first online presentation with an elementary school.
· Hosted 15 online educational presentations for Adult Education Programs including senior centers.
· Designed individualized educational lessons on the Vietnam War and The Wall for six homeschool families.
· Partnered with the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation to research and interview Joe Galloway about his career, reporting in Vietnam, and the legacy of the War and The Wall.
· Worked with students in California to connect them with Vietnam veterans so those students could interview them to better understand the Vietnam experience.
· Created a Facebook group for teachers, Teaching the Vietnam War and Era, and welcomed 1,200 members by year’s end.
Thank you for making this all possible. We couldn’t do it without you!
If you would like to make a contribution to VVMF and support our vital programs, you can do so here: