As we honor those who fought for freedom this Fourth of July, there is a special campaign at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Organizers for the new underground educational center aim to start building a new groundbreaking facility next year to honor every single veteran who died.
But many of those faces and their stories are missing.
“That’s my brother… killed in action February 8, 1967,” says Judy Campbell. “Keith Allen Campbell.”
Keith, a 20-year-old Army medic from Arlington, was killed just three weeks after he arrived in Vietnam.
“It’s incredibly important if we don’t keep the names of these soldiers real and alive,” Campbell says. “The fear is they’ll be forgotten.”
But so many of these are just that – names on a wall with no faces, photos or stories. About 1,000 of them are from the Washington area.
The education center slated to be built next door and open in 2016 will include a wall of faces, each with a photo and personal story.
“We now have over 32,000 of these photographs, but the odd thing is here in Washington, D.C., we’ve completely struck out,” says Jan Scruggs, the president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
Scruggs says they’ve only received 76 photos of 241 D.C. veterans killed. He says the contribution of African American veterans is especially important to chronicle.
“It takes some detective work,” Scruggs says.
“They were real people. They had a family. They had a future,” says Campbell.
For more information on the education center, click here or call 866-990-WALL