DOVER — Jan C. Scruggs, known as “Founder of the [Vietnam] Wall,” will serve as keynote speaker at Kent County Chapter 850 Vietnam Veterans of America’s annual Vietnam Veterans Day ceremony at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 25 at the Kent County Veterans Memorial Park.
Paul Davis, VVA State Council President and Chapter 850 vice president, said, “We are absolutely thrilled this iconic fellow veteran will join us at this historic time. Last November was the 40th anniversary of the D.C. Wall’s dedication, and January 27, 2023, marked the 50th anniversary of the Paris Peace Accords that ended America’s combat role in Vietnam.”
Mr. Scruggs grew up in Bowie, Maryland, and after graduating from high school in 1968 enlisted in the Army. After basic training he was sent to Vietnam as part of a combat infantry unit.
During a year-long tour more about half of his unit was killed or wounded. Mr. Scruggs himself was wounded in action in 1969 by shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade attack.
When he returned home in March 1970, his wartime experiences had made him disillusioned with the way his fellow veterans were disrespected and even blamed for the war. Mr. Scruggs became an expert on PTSD and testified before Congress.
Years later, motivated by a deep respect and appreciation for his fellow soldiers and their acts of bravery, Mr. Scruggs established the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund to build a national memorial in Washington, D.C. to honor the more than the 58,000 who paid the ultimate price in a controversial war and those who survived the war.
Over the next three years, he and other dedicated volunteers worked tirelessly to see their vision become a reality. They overcame major obstacles, from financial difficulties to controversy over the proposed memorial design by Maya Lin, a young Asian architectural student whose design was chosen over 1,400 entries.
But Mr. Scruggs and his allies persevered, and the VVMF fund-raising appeals garnered responses from more than 650,000 private donors across the country, raising more than $8,000,000.
The federal government contributed two-acres for the site between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
On Veterans Day 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was formally dedicated. It attracts five million visitors annually.
Kent County Chapter 850 hosts three ceremonies annually at the Veterans Memorial Park — Vietnam Veterans Day in March, Memorial Day in May, and Veterans Day in November.
The park includes memorials to Kent Countians lost in Korea, Vietnam, Middle East Conflicts, Gold Star Mothers and Families, and a War Dog tribute. It also contains a UH1 Huey medevac helicopter and a POW/MIA Chair of Honor.
The public is welcomed and encouraged to attend each ceremony, which lasts about 90 minutes. Children are welcome and a child from the audience is invited to lead the pledge of allegiance. Jr ROTC cadets from local high schools provide a color guard and Dover Fire Pipes and Drums bagpipers end each ceremony with “Amazing Grace.”
For more information, contact Paul Davis at 302-697-8384 or email@example.com.