Milestones have become
fairly commonplace for Vietnam Veterans of America, and each
marks a particular crusade we have engaged in and earned
This November marks the ten year anniversary of the dedication
of the Vietnam Women's Memorial, and we should all take pride in
our support and encouragement for this long overdue recognition
of the role of all women in Vietnam.
From the beginning of the quest to have a proper monument
acknowledging the contributions and sacrifices of our women
veterans of included in the area of the Vietnam Veterans
Memorial, VVA was there.
We contributed financially to the creation of this tribute, and
we were intimately involved in aspects of its design, its
approval by the Washington, D.C., Fine Arts Commission, as well
as the struggle to convince those who challenged the very idea
honoring the women who served with us. Testimony by VVA helped
persuad Congress to pass the legislation for the Vietnam Women's
We worked with the Vietnam Women's Memorial Project board and
Glenna Goodacre, a New Mexico sculptor, to see that a fitting
and appropriate symbol of service, courage, dedication, and
sacrifice was erected.
On November 10, 2003 VVA will join with thousands of our fellow
Vietnam veterans, men and women, to commemorate the 10th
Anniversary of the dedication of this outstanding monument to
every woman who served.
Just a few weeks ago I was in Vietnam as a member of a VVA
Veterans Initiative delegation. During the mission we met with
members of the Veterans Association of Vietnam and presented
them with a letter of appreciation recognizing their members who
have come forward as witnesses with previously unknown
information that has permitted the American Joint POW/MIA
Accounting Command, JPAC (formerly Joint Task Force-Full
Accounting), to explore new leads and sites in an effort to
resolve the fate of missing Americans.
The Veterans Association of Vietnam expressed their sincere
appreciation for the information provided by former American
soldiers on over 8,000 missing Vietnamese. This information has
lead to the recovery of many remains of Vietnamese, some who
have been positively identified and returned to their families
for proper burial.
While in Hanoi we were accorded the distinct honor of
participating in a Repatriation Ceremony where the remains of
four additional Americans were returned to the United States for
identification and eventual return to their families. It is a
measure of our success and respect that we were asked to help in
this very moving ceremony.
Each of us can be proud of our work, but we cannot stop now. If
you have any information that can lead to the identification of
Vietnamese remains--information about burial sites,
identification cards, or other war memorabilia you may have
acquired during the war--please send it to VVA in care of the
Veterans Initiative so we can return it to the Vietnamese to
give to the families. Each item you turn over may also account
for a missing American.
We will continue to watch
over those serving today and all who have served.