Saturday, March 25, 2017

Vietnam Veterans Memorial 35 Years of Healing

‘The Wall’ is turning 35, and the man behind it wants to honor this generation’s fallen
Military Times
By: Jan C. Scruggs
March 24, 2017
On a cold and windy March day, veterans from each of the 50 states broke ground with shovels to show wide support.
On Sunday, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial will host a ceremony to commemorate the 35th anniversary of its historic groundbreaking. The idea for a memorial engraved with names of the fallen flowed from my academic research and from testimony before the Senate on what is now called post-traumatic stress, a common reaction to witnessing violence.
Jan Scruggs, left, and project engineer Gary Wright look over plans for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on March 23, 1982. Groundbreaking took place March 26.
Photo Credit: Bill Auth/AP
The memorial was planned as a societal acknowledgement of those who served, funded by the American people. I started the effort in 1979 while a GS-7 at the Labor Department, thanks to the permission of my wife. This was nonstop work, day after day.

In 1982, the money was in hand, as was a permit to begin construction. The effort barely succeeded. I hope the lessons learned can ease the path to success for a Global War on Terrorism Memorial that will honor a new generation of service members.
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