The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

August 2002
PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE REPORT
   
 

Plaque Support

BY JIM DOYLE, CHAIR 

Each of us knows someone who came home from Vietnam thinking he had cheated death, only to find out years later that he had made the list of those whose deaths were a direct result of their service in the war. Whether it is by Agent Orange/dioxin-related cancer or by their own hand because of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, they have fallen in disturbing numbers.  

In July 1998, VVA's Public Affairs Committee heard a presentation from Ruth Coder Fitzgerald requesting our support for an effort to place a plaque honoring those servicemembers who returned home from Vietnam, only to die years later as a direct result of their service there.  

VVA testified before Congress on two occasions in support of this project. On June 14, 2000, President Clinton signed the Vietnam War In Memory Plaque bill into law. It authorized the placement of a plaque within the 13-acre site of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which includes the Vietnam Women's Memorial and the Three Fightingmen statue.  

The plaque will acknowledge Vietnam veterans who returned home and died later as a direct result of their service. However, the three-by-four-foot memorial will not list individual names. VVA has supported this project since its inception. We should be proud that after years of contention, we have succeeded. 

The design has been approved. The site has been selected. A tentative date for the dedication of the plaque has been announced by Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), an early and passionate supporter of the project. It is expected that completion will cost between $100,000 and $350,000.   

VVA is proud of its unwavering support of this project. Now we ask our members to join in the effort to raise the money necessary to complete this long-overdue tribute. We urge chapters and state councils to begin their fund-raising efforts on behalf of the Vietnam War In Memory Plaque. For more information on the project, go to the In Memory web site at http://members.aol.com/vietwarmem/plaque.htm or click on the In Memory link on the VVA web site, www.vva.org.

   

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