BY JAN SCRUGGS; PHOTOGRAPHS BY PATRICK J. HUGHES
The names in the granite of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial resonate with us all: those of us who served, those who lost loved ones, and those who lived through the divisive era. Behind every name is a face and a story.
Thirty years have passed since the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial; 2012 also marked the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Vietnam War. As generations pass, more and more visitors come to The Wall with no connection toand no knowledge ofthe men and women it memorializes. The mission of The Wall is evolving from remembrance to education. Congress authorized The Education Center at The Wall to help future generations understand the tremendous sacrifices made by those who have answered the nation’s call to duty for more than two hundred years and the living legacy of service carried forward by today’s military.
The mission of The Education Center at The Wall is to convey the lessons the nation so painfully learned from the Vietnam War and the sacrifices of the men and women who serve this country. The Education Center also will pay tribute to the fallen from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and will be a place of healing and remembrance for those who served.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is committed to building The Education Center at The Wall and has raised $47 million of the $85 million necessary to begin construction. The goal is to open the Center’s doors in 2014, in time for the return of our troops from Afghanistan.
Jan Scruggs is one of the founders of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. He served with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade in Vietnam. Patrick J. Hughes, the national photographer for Rolling Thunder, served with the U.S. Marine Corps from July 1966-68; from January 1967-February 1968 he was with Marine Group 12 in Vietnam. View more of his photos at www.patrickjhughes.org.
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