News Release: Memorial Fund Seeks Honorees

20 January 2009

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is searching for 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 20 during the 11th annual In Memory Day ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Since its inception in 1993, more than 1,700 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 Monday, February 9. Applications can be obtained on the Memorial Fund Web site. A copy of the honoree’s death certificate and military records showing service in Vietnam must accompany the application.

“Just as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial has helped the nation heal, the In Memory Day program was designed to help the families of those service members who died as a result of Agent Orange exposure or other physical and emotional wounds from the war,” said Jan C. Scruggs, Memorial Fund founder and president.

“By bringing these families together, the In Memory program allows loved ones 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 58,260 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 explained. “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.”

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 Education Center at The Wall, an underground facility on the National Mall.
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