Vietnam Heroes Sought For In Memory Day
20 January 2008
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the nonprofit organization that has helped America heal from the divisive wounds of the Vietnam War, is searching for Vietnam veterans who died as a result of their service, but who do not meet the government requirements for having their names added to The Wall.
These heroes will be honored on April 21 during the 10th annual In Memory Day ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Since its inception in 1993, more than 1,600 individuals have been honored through the In Memory program.
In order for a loved one to be considered, family members and friends should submit their applications to the Memorial Fund no later than Friday, February 1. Applications can be obtained on the Memorial Fund Web site (www.vvmf.org
). A copy of the honoree’s death certificate and military records showing service in Vietnam must accompany the application.
“Since the end of the war, thousands of service members and civilians have died as a result of Agent Orange exposure or other physical and emotional wounds from the war,” Scruggs said. “By bringing together those who have sustained similar tragedies, the In Memory program allows family members and friends to share their stories and to continue the process of healing.”In Memory Day
Initially, honorees were remembered in ceremonies held twice a year as part of Memorial and Veterans Day activities at The Wall. Beginning in 1999, the Memorial Fund established a separate day to honor these individuals. Nearly 1,000 family members and friends come from all across the country to attend the In Memory Day ceremony each year.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial contains the names of 58,256 men and women who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces in the Vietnam War. However, its black granite walls have always stood to remember all of the nearly 3.5 million who participated in the difficult and controversial conflict.
“The Department of Defense developed specific parameters to allow only the names of the service members who died of injuries suffered in combat zones to be inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial,” Scruggs said. “The In Memory program recognizes those men and women who have died as a result of their service, but who do not meet the DOD requirements for inscription on The Wall. In Memory Day gives us the opportunity to honor these individuals for their sacrifices.”
During the ceremony, family members read aloud their loved ones’ names in chronological order by date of death. Following the ceremony, participants lay tributes at the black granite panels that correspond to the honorees’ dates of service in Vietnam, so that these Vietnam veterans come to rest with the comrades with whom they served.Patriots Day
The annual In Memory Day ceremony is held on the third Monday of April. That date was chosen specifically to coincide with Patriots Day, which commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord at the start of the Revolutionary War—the first time Americans fought for freedom and democracy.Established in 1979, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is the nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Today, through a series of outreach programs, it is dedicated to preserving the legacy of The Wall, promoting healing, educating about the impact of the Vietnam War and is building the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center, an underground educational facility, near The Wall.
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