April 2000/May 2000
A Simple Plaque
By Jim Doyle, Chair, Public Affairs Committee
On Tuesday, May 9, the House of Representatives voted 421 to 0 to pass
H.R. 3293, the In Memory Memorial Plaque bill.
Author of H.R. 3293 Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.).
On April 27, VVA testified in favor of a companion bill in the Senate,
S. 1921, before the Subcommittee on National Parks, Historic Preservation,
and Recreation of the Senate Committee On Energy and Natural Resources.
VVA’s Public Affairs Committee restated its strong support for the bill.
The intent of these two bills is very simple--recognition and respect
for those who survived their service in Vietnam, but who subsequently died
as a result of that service and who are not eligible to have their names
engraved on The Wall.
In Memory Plaque advocate Ruth Coder Fitzgerald
with husband Barry.
The In Memory memorial plaque, measuring approximately three foot
square and bearing no names, would be inscribed to acknowledge and honor
these "hidden casualties of Vietnam." It would be placed
somewhere on the 13-acre memorial site, not on or near The Wall
S. 1921 would "authorize the placement within the site of the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial of a plaque to honor Vietnam veterans who died
after their service in the Vietnam War, but as a direct result of that
service."VVA’s testimony in support of passage of the bill was clear and
direct. "We believe the In Memory Plaque is an appropriate and
necessary addition to the grounds of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. VVA
believes that not to respect the sacrifice of those who served with honor
and came home, only to die years later as a result of their service in
Vietnam, is to dishonor all those who served."
As it has in the past, the U.S. Park Service opposes any addition to
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, claiming that the memorial is complete and
that no further additions are advised. The same argument was used by the
Park Service in its opposition to the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project.
S.1921 still needs support in the Senate. HR 3293 had reached 260
co-sponsors by early April, while the Senate bill, had collected only
thirty co-sponsors, leaving 70 Senators yet to take advantage of the
opportunity to voice their support for the plaque.
Please be certain that both your Senators support S 1921. Remind them
that this is an election year and that Veterans Vote!