VVA Logo VVA Press Release

Press Release

June 11, 2009

No. 09-015

Mokie Porter

D.C. Metro Officials Right a Wrong
That Should Never Have Been Made

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – “The advertising agents for Tysons Corner Center Mall in Virginia managed to devise a thoroughly tasteless ad featuring a woman in front of a ‘wall’ that closely resembles the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in our Nation’s Capitol. On this ‘wall’ are inscribed, in a font highly suggestive of that used on The Wall, the names of the center’s stores. Then this ad was posted in Metrorail cars, inspiring indignation and outrage of Vietnam veterans and our families,” said John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA).

“When the depth of indignation came known, Tysons Corner Center executives and Washington D.C. Metro officials hastened to remove the ads, which were to have had a one-month run. We applaud them for their swift action to correct a collective error in judgment.

“That the conceptualization, production, approvals, and posting of this ad got as far as it did, however, is appalling,” Rowan said. “To defend the ad, as a spokeswoman for the D.C. Metro initially told a reporter, because ‘We honor the First Amendment, just like most newspapers do,’ is also troubling. This is not, as she contended, ‘a freedom of speech issue.’

“Rather, it is – or should be – one of simple common sense. Just as a candidate for public office should never use The Wall, the Iwo Jima Memorial, or any other memorial as backdrop for a campaign ad heralding his patriotism, a company should not use an image representing the service and sacrifice of America’s men and women in uniform, and especially of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, to sell cars or clothing or cigarettes, or to get folks to go out and shop.”

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More than six hundred delegates from VVA state councils and local chapters across the country will join hundreds of other Vietnam veterans and guests in Louisville for the National Convention. Following the July 29 Opening Ceremonies, the delegates will meet in convention to debate national resolutions and Constitutional amendments. Later in the week, they will vote for VVA’s national leaders—officers and board members—for the coming two years.

The Keynote Speaker at the Opening Ceremonies will be Retired Army Gen. Russel Honore, a Vietnam War era veteran known as the “Category Five General” for his leadership in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Television personality and Vietnam veteran Pat Sajak will be among the recipients of VVA’s Excellence in the Arts Awards, Saturday evening, August 1, at the Convention’s culminating event, the Awards Banquet. VVA’s supporting organization, the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America, will hold its Leadership Conference concurrently with the Convention.

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.  VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”


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