Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund creates a virtual wall of faces
Garrett Tenney has the story for ‘Special Report’
Plans for the construction of an underground Vietnam War education center near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, were the hatches for the Friday, about fundraising problems in connection with the $ 130 million project.
In a statement, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, said the organization had raised only $45 million and was not optimistic about meeting the funding goal. The unanimous decision was made by the Memorial Fund’s seven-member board of directors.
The proposed center was scheduled to sit in the near the Vietnam Veterans and Lincoln memorials on the National Mall. It would be recommended exhibitions and a wall of virtual faces of the 58,000 AMERICAN military sevicemebers who died in the war.
Over a number of years, the VVMF collected photos of many of those fought and died in Vietnam.
“We will have the details of what this change means, but I am encouraged by the board of directors of the steadfast commitment to going back to the core of our mission,” VVMF President and CEO Jim Knotts told the Washington Post.
He said that the organization plans to have an online education center in the place.
This is a sad + unfortunate end to @VVMF the decades-long struggle for the respect for the Vietnam veterans. https://t.co/vCfi1wZnXS via @michaelruane
— Phillip Carter (@Carter_PE) September 22, 2018
The project was plagued by financial problems since its launch in 2001, and faced with criticism from some, who argued the education centre was not necessary, having regard to the fact that the wall was already a profound statement about the war.
On Friday, Jan C. Scruggs, the creator of the VVMF, who led the crusade to build the memorial wall, said: “the time has come for the VVMF to raise money to give back” to all the donors.
He soured on the project and left the group three years ago.
The Post reported that Scruggs traveled the country in a fundraising campaign and will host a groundbreaking ceremony in 2012 that featured then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta; Jill Biden, the wife of former Vice-President Joe Biden; and singer Jimmy Buffett.
Last year, the project received a $10 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, the largest cash donations in the fund of the history. But as the project costs continue to rise, Scruggs and the VVMF realized their efforts were fruitless.
In the statement, John Dibble, chairman of the council, said: “This project has faced many difficult challenges since Jan Scruggs conceived the idea in 2001. It is a long road and we have a lot of success along the way. … Unfortunately, we’ve reached that point about a physical building … [that] the money just didn’t come.”
The VVMF provided the paper with a statement of Chuck Hagel, the former minister of defence and the Vietnam veteran:
“An educational Centre in the building would have become a much-loved national asset. But … I believe that the Council made the right decision to focus on technology to inform visitors about the monument.”