Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Monday, May 28, 2012

The Story Behind The Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Jan Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, at the memorial. (AP)

By: Alex Ashlock

Decades ago, he helped to raise the money to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. Today, Jan Scruggs, president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, is trying to raise the money needed to build an education center near The Wall.

Jan Scruggs at age 19 serving in Vietnam. (Courtesy Jan Scruggs)

It’s part of the organization’s continuing mission to honor, educate and heal in the aftermath of the controversial war. The Wall is being rededicated on Memorial Day as part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of American involvement in the conflict in Vietnam.

The idea for the education center is to put faces and stories on the more than 58,000 names that are etched on the Wall. There will also be a collection of items that people have placed at the wall. There’s a famous book about the Vietnam War called “The Things They Carried.” If you’ve been to the Wall you know, there could also be a book written about the things people leave behind there.

“The point is that people have to understand that their freedom has been purchased at a price and that price is the lives of their fellow citizens who, for over 200 years, have done their duty for our country,” Scruggs told Here and Now‘s Robin Young in 2007. “This will be a place where these people will be remembered.”

This segment originally aired in 2007.


  • Jan Scruggs, president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.

Experts share a range of perspectives on how to combat the Islamic State militant group, and the role the U.S. should play.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

November 25 3 Comments

Rapper Le1f Finds Struggle And Moral Diversity In American Music

We've been asking musicians what they think of when they think "American music." Today we hear from Khalif Diouf, aka Le1f.

November 24 7 Comments

Ferguson: One Year Later

City council member Wesley Bell looks back on the past year since protests and violence swept the Missouri city.

November 24 3 Comments

Sam Sifton’s Tips For A Happy, Delicious Thanksgiving For All

The New York Times' food editor talks about his favorite dishes and how to accommodate everyone without going crazy.

November 23 3 Comments

James Taylor Is ‘Gobsmacked’ By Medal Of Freedom Honor

The five-time Grammy winner looks back on his career, ahead of receiving the country's highest civilian honor.