As we approach Veteran’s Day, I would like to share two very important numbers with you: 58,276 and 405.
As of Memorial Day, 2019, there are 58,276 names on the national Vietnam Veteran’s memorial, the Wall of Faces, honoring service members of the U.S. Armed Forces who fought in Vietnam, those who died in service in Vietnam/South East Asia, and those service members who went unaccounted for during the war.
A 1973 fire in St. Louis, Missouri, destroyed their military records, leaving no photos behind. In 2013, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund set out to find the pictures to preserve their legacies and sacrifices. As of October 2019, only 405 names are still missing pictures.
Across the country, volunteers and organizations like the National Newspaper Association and the Newspaper Association Managers (NAM) are helping the program leave no one behind.
Andrew Johnson is the publisher of the Dodge County Pioneer in Mayville, Wisconsin, and the immediate past president of the National Newspaper Association. As NNA President, Johnson championed this cause and led the charge to find over 15,000 missing pictures.
“One of the greatest ways we can honor veterans is to recognize their work and sacrifice,” Johnson said.
Johnson speaks from experience, as his own son, First Lt. David A. Johnson was KIA in Afghanistan in 2012. This cause became extremely personal for him, and he is absolutely thrilled at how close the project is to being completed.
“Let’s finish this project for Veteran’s Day for our nation’s Vietnam heroes,” he said.
The VVMF needs your help to find the last 405 missing photos.
Share the VVMF’s story and the veterans’ names. We need to find family or friends of these fallen soldiers to get their picture and give them the honor they deserve. You can search for the names yourself by going to https://www.vvmf.org/submit-a-photo/Missing-Photos-by-State. The public can upload photos directly to the VVMF website.
Brian Allfrey is the executive director of the Utah Press Association.