Today, I have a guest blogger, President and Founder of Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) Jan C. Scruggs. Please take the time to read this post and consider helping with this cause.
My name is Jan C. Scruggs, Founder and President of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. 30 years ago, I helped build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This monument healed millions with the engravings on a black granite wall. Now, I am taking those names and putting a story and picture behind it in a new museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC; the Education Center at The Wall.
The Education Center of The Wall will change the people who visit it. For the nearly 40 percent of visitors who weren’t even born when The Wall was completed,, it will transform the long list of names cut in the smooth black granite. Instead of simply names, visitors will see the faces and know the stories of the 58,000 heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War.
Through interactive exhibits and primary source materials, visitors will be able to better understand the profound impact the Vietnam War had on their family members, their home towns, their communities and the nation. Visitors will understand the importance of The Wall and the role it continues to play in healing the deep physical, emotional and societal wounds left by the war.
One of those interactive exhibits is called the Call for Photos. VVMF is trying to collect every single photograph of each person on The Wall. People are sending us photographs daily, along with personal remembrances. Here is one we received the other day. It was written for Erik Rudziak, from his high school classmate Chris Rogers.
“Erik was a friend through my younger brother, Sam Rogers. I am Chris Rogers. Erik played drums in a band with my brother. I am a Vietnam vet also. I remember Erik as a big hearted guy, always smiling. I remember the band practicing in our basement, right next door to the Commandant of the post. Had to keep it down a little, so my dad, Colonel Rogers, didn't get in trouble with the post C.O. Erik was a great football player also, playing on the 1965 Carlisle High School undefeated football team. Quite a few of us brats on that team. The world lost a great guy when Erik was killed. Rest in peace, Erik, you have truly earned it.”
It’s my goal to share Chris’ submission in the Education Center, so generations to come can know the legacy of this great patriot,. It’s also my goal to break ground on the Education Center this Veterans Day.
In order to raise the rest of the needed funds so we can break ground, from now until Veterans Day, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) is issuing a Service Branch Challenge. The challenge is for each of us to support the Education Center and show pride in one of the branches of the service.
General Barry McCaffrey, USA (Ret) has agreed to lead the charge for the US Army, in their efforts. “The Education Center at The Wall will be a place where our fallen comrades and their stories will live on forever,” said McCaffrey. “I’m proud to lend my support and encourage those who love the US Army to get involved. Supporters of the Army are already leading the way, and have donated more than $21,000. I challenge leaders of the other branches to step up to try and catch us.”
Join Gen. McCaffrey and me in some good natured competiveness and help us remember the legacy of service made by all 9,000,000 million men and women who served with the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard during the Vietnam War Era.
Jan C. Scruggs,
President and Founder of Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund