WASHINGTON, April 1, 2008–The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) of the United States has pledged up to $1 million to help build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center, a visitors and education facility being built on the National Mall, announced Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
VFW is the first veterans' organization to pledge financial support to the Memorial Center. The organization plans to raise the money over the next three years through its more than 8,000 posts and 1.7 million members worldwide.
VFW has a long history of supporting the Memorial Fund and was, in fact, the first major veterans' organization to contribute to building The Wall itself. VFW contributed $250,000 to build The Wall back in 1982, making it one of the largest contributors to the project. Additionally, the group gave $50,000 to the Memorial Fund to create and distribute a curriculum guide, Echoes from The Wall, to 25,000 public and private high schools in 1999.
"VFW has always been a supporter of The Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and any undertaking that pays tribute to the brave Americans who have served their country in other lands," said Scruggs. "We are proud to have VFW as a sponsor of this important new project, to teach visitors about the sacrifices that were made during the Vietnam War, as well as other American conflicts."
"A visitors and education facility is long overdue and is a vital addition to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial," said George Lisicki, the national commander of the VFW and a Vietnam War veteran. "Not only will the Center complement America's memorial to our Vietnam War comrades, it also will provide an educational experience to the 4 million visitors who visit The Wall annually. We lobbied Congress for several years to approve the Center's addition to the National Mall, so we are thrilled for a vision to finally become a reality."
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. One exhibit 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.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund
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.
For more information, visit www.vvmf.org