News Release: South Dakota Governor Supports Education Center

12 August 2010

South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds has joined the leadership team for the campaign to build the Education Center at The Wall.

The Education Center is a facility being built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., that will put faces to the more than 58,000 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The Center will tell the stories of those who served in Vietnam and recognize the values common to all service members.

“Gov. Rounds has been a proven ally to all of the South Dakotans who are serving their country,” said Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF),. “We welcome his involvement, and the assistance of all the people of South Dakota, in helping make the Education Center a reality.”

A strong supporter of his state’s National Guard members, Gov. Rounds traveled to Afghanistan in late July to meet with several different South Dakota National Guard units serving there, including the Sioux Falls-based 196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and the 211th Engineering Company. While visiting the 196th, Gov. Rounds attended a ceremony in which three South Dakotans were awarded the U.S. Army Combat Action Badge after coming under enemy fire. This was not the governor’s first trip to the war zone; he first visited South Dakota troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007.

“My recent war zone visit was an honor,” Gov. Rounds said. “Our hearts go out to families who have lost loved ones in the Middle East, and we also should never forget those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam, the two World Wars and other U.S. conflicts.

“I fully support the current Education Center initiative to highlight those brave soldiers we lost in Vietnam,” he added, “and I cannot say enough in support of our troops, both past and present.”

Gov. Rounds joins 22 other governors on the leadership team for the Education Center. Members of the leadership team provide ideas, recruit supporters and lead grassroots efforts to raise awareness and gather photos of the individuals from their states whose names are on The Wall.

As a member of the leadership team, Gov. Rounds will help VVMF gather photos of the 193 individuals from South Dakota whose names are on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The images being collected will be included on a Wall of Faces that will show, on their birthdays, photos of those who died or remain missing from the Vietnam War. Other exhibits planned for the Education Center will include a display showcasing some of the more than 100,000 items that have been left in tribute at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a timeline of events during the Vietnam War and a history of the creation of The Wall.

South Dakotans attending the 2010 Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis will be able to contribute photos of their loved ones whose names are on The Wall during that event. VVMF will have its traveling replica of The Wall, called The Wall That Heals, in Sturgis from Aug. 7-13. The Wall That Heals includes an information tent where volunteers can scan photos and accept remembrances for use in the Education Center and on the Virtual Wall on VVMF’s website.

Since taking office in 2003, Gov. Rounds has produced a balanced state budget without having to increase taxes; reduced the state’s structural debt; increased state aid to schools and universities; has promoted economic growth in the state and has supported several bills to provide new benefits to National Guardsmen and women and their families.

By joining the leadership team, Gov. Rounds is helping future generations learn about an important time in our nation’s history. Currently, nearly $26 million has been raised, including the lead gift of $10 million from Time Warner. VVMF has received donations from corporations, organizations, veterans groups and individuals. For more information on the Center, visit
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