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

Special Commemorative Issue, November 2002

President's Message

By Thomas H. Corey, President, Vietnam Veterans of America

With this special issue of The VVA Veteran, we commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Since 1982, The Wall has been the focal point for healing from the Vietnam War. This monument to those killed and missing from the Vietnam War has served as the center of the community of Vietnam veterans to which we turn to remember the sacrifice and camaraderie of those with whom we served.

While the value and the outcome of the Vietnam War will forever be debated, those who fought will forever revere the service and the sacrifice of those who served. The Wall is where we turn to pay our respects, to honor our comrades, to seek a space where our service is remembered, and to find a place where our comrades' sacrifice of blood and life is forever etched in gleaming granite.

While the early and heated debates about the construction and design of the Wall are well documented, what has happened since 1982 attests to the success of the design. From the beginning, The VVA Veteran has chronicled the history of The Wall through the ways the veterans, their families, and their loved ones have paid their respects. In this issue of The VVA Veteran we offer articles that honor The Wall and reflect the service and the unity of veterans and non-veterans.

The Wall resonates for all who served. It is our memorial. It honors our service through the sacrifice of loved ones. It resonates for the many selfless volunteers who help those who come to The Wall in search of loved ones, for the thousands of sons and daughters whose fathers never came home, for the veterans who faithfully wash The Wall and replace light bulbs and rewire sockets, for the mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and others who come from all over the country to touch a name, and for Robert Plato, the three-tour Vietnam veteran, whose dying wish was granted when he made his first and final trip to The Wall. "When I leave here today," he said, "I will leave a piece of my heart."

The spirit of The Wall lives in the heart of every Vietnam veteran, family member, and friend. That is why, on this Veterans Day, Vietnam Veterans of America will lead a March to Remember down Constitution Avenue toward The Wall Where we can reflect on service and sacrifice. Vietnam veterans and friends had to build that Wall and we remember.



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