The Education Center at The Wall
Go inside the Education Center at The Wall and see what it will be with your help.
Separating the War from the Warriors
By Jan C. Scruggs
The past decade has not been a pleasant time for many who serve in our armed forces.
Many recall holidays deployed in danger zones far from home. Places like Fallujah, Kandahar and Bagdad brought our troops many challenges. America has had over 50,000 wounded, nearly 7,000 dead. Others have injuries like PTSD, tinnitus and Traumatic Brain Injury.
Wars have costs — often profound — for the warriors.
Many Americans actually do not know anyone who has been deployed in the military. It used to be very different. During the Vietnam War it sure was. I volunteered at age 18 for a two-year stint in 1968.
Most of those I served with were drafted. I liked the idea of getting it over with right out of high school. The Army made me an infantryman. They were losing hundreds on a weekly basis. I ended up in Vietnam, seeing combat here and there. Thanks to the skill of a North Vietnamese RPG team, I got shot up badly enough to get a free education. I ended up with a master’s degree in counseling psychology from American University in Washington D.C.. And later a law degree. So it was a fair trade.
Flowing from all of this education, I became an authority on PTSD, writing articles and testifying to the U.S. Congress. Then came the idea of a national memorial honoring Vietnam veterans. A lot people helped considerably, especially some dedicated and skilled graduates of West Point. One was Robert Kimmitt, who went on to become the U.S. ambassador to Germany. There were a lot of them, several with MBAs from Harvard. I was just a former E-4 with an idea, energy and audacity.
The effort to create the Wall was action packed with thrills and spills and controversy, but the entire effort — legislative, funding, design competition and construction — was completed in three years. As decades moved on, “the Wall that heals evolved into the Wall that educates.” These are actually the words of Brian Thacker, a Medal of Honor recipient. In 2000, with help from a lot of VIPs like Senators Chuck Hagel, John McCain and John Kerry — we started work on the Education Center at the Wall. The Memorial gave the veterans of the Vietnam War society’s recognition. The Center would teach that society about what the veterans did.
You are invited to a ceremonial groundbreaking for the center on Wednesday, November 28.
Read the full story: http://nation.time.com/2012/11/26/separating-the-war-from-the-warriors/