Updated: May 5
BY: MACKENZIE FLOREEN
Founded in 1979 by a group of veteran activists, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is known for developing and building the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, also known as The Wall, in Washington, D.C. In 1980, the VVMF was officially authorized to build The Wall to symbolize and commemorate those who fought and served during the Vietnam War. Since its inception, it has been VVMF’s intention to recognize the service of the U.S. Armed Forces and inform the public about the history of the Vietnam War. Obtained from the VVMF official website, the non-profit’s vision is to “…ensure a society in which all who have served and sacrificed in our nation’s Armed Forces are properly honored and receive the recognition they justly deserve.” In order to carry out this vision successfully, VVMF has several ongoing projects that promote and provide the recognition of Vietnam War veterans.
Since The Wall was first erected in 1980, the VVMF has maintained, preserved, and cared for the memorial site. This entails complying with the Department of Defense on additions and changes to the memorial, as well as properly caring for the statue, plaque, and wall site. The VVMF has also created The Wall That Heals, a 375-foot long and 7.5-foot high portable replica of the original Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The Wall That Heals is transported across various locations throughout the U.S., bringing remembrance and honor to the communities of servicemembers.
In conjunction with The Wall That Heals, the VVMF has created The Wall of Faces program to further educate and memorialize the more than 58,000 names inscribed on The Wall. The Wall of Faces is a virtual webpage committed to finding a photo of every name displayed at the Vietnam memorial site—family, friends, and former servicemembers are encouraged to share photos and make connections through this virtual memorialization of Vietnam Veterans. Additionally, The Wall That Heals showcases the photos of veterans local to each tour stop of the portable memorial, allowing communities to commemorate their hometown heroes.
The VVMF also provides Vietnam veterans with the chance to make connections with fellow Vietnam Era veterans through the Vietnam Era Registry. The non-profit also provides educational services regarding the Vietnam War through several avenues. Guided group tours are offered at the Washington, D.C. site and episodes educating those on the experiences and aftermath of this divisive era are produced by the VVMF’s podcast, Echoes of the Vietnam War.
These projects are only a few of the many that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund has dedicatedly pursued and established in the name of U.S. servicemembers. To further explore the inspiring work the VVMF has devoted to remembering those who have served and sacrificed, we encourage you to visit their official website.
Kutztown Community Partnership is proud to work with the VVMF to bring this momentous memorial to the local heroes, families, and community members of our beloved hometown. We hope to see you all there this fall!