A statewide initiative to gather photos of every Kentuckian whose name is on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial will kick off at a May 9 breakfast at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset, Ky., announced Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF), which is partnering with the state in this effort.
The photos will be used in the Education Center at The Wall, a learning facility being built near the Vietnam Veterans and Lincoln Memorials in Washington, D.C. The Education Center will build on the visitor’s experience at The Wall by showing a photo for every name and telling their stories. VVMF is reaching out to states, counties and communities for help gathering photos and remembrances about the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.
“VVMF is energized by the enthusiasm of the people of Kentucky,” said Scruggs. “We want to make sure that the 1,058 individuals from the state are honored and remembered in the Education Center.”
The free May 9 breakfast is set for 9:30 a.m. (EST) and is being held as part of the activities around the arrival of VVMF’s traveling half-scale replica of the Memorial, called The Wall That Heals. The exhibition includes a traveling museum and information center, which is equipped with a scanner so that visitors can bring their photos of loved ones to The Wall and have them scanned onsite.
The breakfast is being held to honor veterans of all wars and those currently serving. Among the honored guests will be Rep. Hal Rogers (R-5th), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Rogers served in the Kentucky and North Carolina National Guard from 1957-64 and is a member of the National Guard and Reserve Caucus. Also speaking will be Lonnie Lawson, the president and CEO of The Center for Rural Development. VVMF President Jan Scruggs will be on hand to talk about the National Call for Photos.
The Wall That Heals will be open at The Center in Somerset–located at 2292 South Highway 27–from May 9-14. Starting Tuesday, May 10, local organizers will host activities every day at noon, including wreath layings, leaving flags at The Wall, and reading the names of all those on The Wall from Kentucky. A closing ceremony featuring full military honors will be held on Saturday, May 14, at noon, and will be administered by the Somerset American Legion Post 38. Somerset is the only stop The Wall That Heals is scheduled to make in Kentucky this year.
More details about the daily noon military observances will be posted here soon, so keep checking back for more information. The May 9 breakfast and all of the activities with The Wall That Heals at The Center are free and open to the public.
Local sponsors for The Wall That Heals at The Center include: Kentucky Press Association, WKYT-27, WYMT-57, WBKO-13, Clear Channel Lake Cumberland, Commonwealth Journal, The City of Somerset, and the Somerset Hampton Inn.