On this day in 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated. When the Memorial’s long, black walls were first proposed, they sparked controversy. Since then, they have become a place of reverence and healing.
The Memorial might never have existed but for Jan C. Scruggs, a Vietnam War veteran. The years after the war were tough, and Scruggs became more and more convinced that a memorial would help veterans heal. “Its mere existence would be societal recognition that their sacrifices were honorable rather than dishonorable,” he explained. “Veterans needed this, and so did the nation. Our country needed something symbolic to help heal our wounds.”
Scruggs hoped veterans’ service could be recognized, even in the face of disagreement with governmental policy. In 1979, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) was incorporated.