Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

News Release: AFL-CIO Supports The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center

24 March 2008

The AFL-CIO approved a resolution supporting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center during an Executive Council meeting at its Mid-Winter Conference, announced Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center is a visitors and education center being built underground on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The resolution, which passed unanimously on March 4 at the San Diego meeting, states:

“The Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., now 25 years old and known simply as ‘The Wall,’ has become a symbol of reconciliation and healing from one of America’s most divisive wars and a place of remembrance for those who served and sacrificed.

“To allow visitors to learn about the memorial, citizenship and the service of veterans of all of America’s military conflicts, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, in keeping with its mission to promote healing and education, has planned a Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center to be built near The Wall.

“The Memorial Center will be located underground, protecting the visual integrity of the National Mall, while enhancing the experience of visiting The Wall. The Center will house the written and digital remembrances of the individuals whose names are inscribed on The Wall, creating a unique historical record for current and future generations.

“In recognition of the unique contribution of the Memorial Center to the memory of our nation’s veterans and their families, the American labor movement pledges its support for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center.”

The evening before this historic resolution was approved, a reception honoring Memorial Fund Founder and President Jan Scruggs was hosted by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), an AFL-CIO member, at the Hotel del Coronado, where the Mid-Winter Conference took place.

“This has special meaning for us because we are building the Memorial Center for the American people,” said Scruggs. “And this resolution tells us that the American people, millions of whom are represented by the AFL-CIO, want and need the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center.”

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center will be built underground near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. While still in the planning stages, exhibits will include a wall of photographs of those whose names are on The Wall, a selection of the over 100,000 items that have been left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a timeline of key military events in the Vietnam War, rotating exhibits and a resource center, where visitors can find in-depth information. A section of the Center will illustrate the legacy of service demonstrated by the American people, showing images of those who served in all of America’s conflicts, from the Revolutionary War to Iraq.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund has raised more than $16 million to date, with a goal of $75 million to $100 million. The Center will be funded completely from private donations, just as The Wall was privately funded when it was built in 1982. The Memorial Fund expects to break ground for the Center in 2010; the building should be completed 18 months later.

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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