Without honoring our Veterans now future generations will not understand the cost of freedom, nor will they know what their fathers & grandfathers sacrificed so that they may enjoy their freedoms of today
Vietnam War and later died as a result of their service.
We honor and remember their sacrifice."
The plaque acknowledges the service of and pays tribute to veterans who died prematurely because of their service in the Vietnam War from causes including exposure to toxic herbicides (i.e., cancers; diabetes), post traumatic stress disorder (i.e., heart attacks, suicide) and Hepatitis C, among others.
Many people worked very hard & were committed to the project as they looked forward to the day that those Veterans would be honored at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It took Ruth Coder Fitzgerald President of Vietnam War In Memory Memorial, Inc. and her committee over 8 years to have this Memorial approved by Congress. Many people worked very hard & were committed to the project as they looked forward to the day that those Veterans would be honored at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The plaque was beautiful upon its dedication and many have
found great healing with its placement.
Since Vietnam, Americans who served their country in Southeast Asia
in this nation's longest war have continued to suffer premature deaths related to their service, due to Agent Orange induced illnesses,
post-traumatic stress disorder, and a growing register of other causes.
The Department of Veterans Affairs maintains no comprehensive
records of these "hidden casualties of Vietnam."
Their names will never be inscribed on The Wall.
"There is a void at The Wall",
in the words of one of these veterans' widows.
To help bridge the void, the nonprofit
Vietnam War In Memory Memorial Plaque Project
formed in the mid-90's and obtained overwhelming Congressional
approval for a privately funded ground-level plaque on the Memorial grounds, bearing no names, but designed and worded to acknowledge
and commemorate these postwar casualties.
Click here to add text.
Ruth has retired since the placement of the plaque but many feel
that we shouldn't let her accomplishment of the plaque be sacrificed due to it's present condition today.
Sample letter you can download & personalize if you want
(It is very much the same as the one we sent from our organization)
"Those it honors share just one thing:
they gave their lives for their country."
The following opinion piece supporting the In Memory memorial plaque was printed in the Washington Post's 'Close to Home' section Sunday, April 2, 2000. It is the opinion of Robert W. Doubek, who, as project director, piloted the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to Federal approval
For Reference: http://members.aol.com/vietwarmem/doubek.htm
Inscription on The In Memory Plaque Memorial
There was something I wanted to talk to you about, but didn't mention in our conversation on the phone. I had a bit of a bad experience this weekend at the memorial, and I wanted your input. I went to visit the In Memory plaque and leave a tribute for my Dad. I got down on both knees in front of it, put his picture down beside it, and bent down to kiss the stone, just as I always do. Before I could even move, a group of people just walked on top of it and stood there. It's like.. HELLO! YOU'RE STANDING ON A MONUMENT!!! I politely said excuse me three times before anyone even bothered to look down. I calmly said "In case you weren't aware, you're standing on part of the monument. This isn't just another brick, it's part of the memorial." "Oops." That was all one of them said, but they continued to stand on it! So I said excuse me again. The same girl looked down as if I were annoying her, and I said "my Dad died a painful death and this memorial you are still standing on represents his suffering. If you wouldn't mind, would you please step aside so that I can pay my respects, or do I have to move you myself??" They finally moved, convinced that I meant business, and am obviously capable of doing what I said I would do. As angry as I am at them for being ignorant, I also feel bad because I'm sure they didn't see it. (Although they should have moved the second it was pointed out to them.) I know this is considered a small victory for us that we even have this plaque, but I can't help but feel that we're still a dirty secret. It's a small square, flush to the ground, hidden in the corner as far away from the statue as it can get. No one even knows it's there, except those of us who have someone in our lives that it represents. I sat for hours writing an e-mail to Jan Scruggs at VVMF. I pledged $500 of my own money to help make improvements, and vowed to raise any funds necessary to complete the task. I suggested illuminating the stone, or perhaps adding a decorative fencing around it, so that a) people know it's there, and b) people don't walk all over it like it's just another stone in the walkway. I am very hurt by this, and it left a black mark on my memory of the day and event. Some people would read this and think I'm overreacting. But no one can walk on the Wall. They can't trample on the Three Servicemen statue, or the Women's memorial. What are your thoughts?