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This Day In History: 11/13/1982 - Vietnam Memorial Dedicated


See what happened on November 13 in this video of This Day in History. The Supreme Court ruled that the racially segregated buses of Alabama were unconstitutional on November 13, 1956. This ended the Montgomery Bus Boycott. On November 13, 1986, Ronald Reagan defended secretly sending arms to Iran in a televised address to the nation. On November 13, 2001, the Taliban fled the Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. This allowed the United States forces and the Afghan forces to successfully take over the capital of the country. Lastly, on November 13, 1982, the memorial dedicated to the veterans of the Vietnam War was unveiled. The memorial was built with polished granite, and it displays the names of over 60,000 veterans. Although this was protested by veterans who thought there should be a more traditional memorial, the memorial remains a popular site for tourists.


November 13, 1982 A Wall of Faces

Ten years ago, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, www.vvmf.org began work on a virtual “Wall of Faces”, where each name is remembered with a picture, and a story to go with it. In 2017, the organization was still looking for 6,000+ photographs. As I write this, only 230 remain to be found.

Check it out. Pass it around. You might be able to help.

Begun on November 1, 1955, the American war in Southeast Asia lasted 19 years, 5 months and a day. On March 29, 1973, two months after signing the Paris Peace accords, the last US combat troops left South Vietnam as Hanoi freed the remaining POWs held in North Vietnam.

It was the longest war in American history, until Afghanistan.

Jan Scruggs served in that war. Two tours, returning home with a Purple Heart and three army commendation medals as well as a medal for valor. Theirs was an unpopular war and like many, Scruggs found readjustment to civilian life, difficult.

In 1979, he and Becky, his wife of five years, went to see a movie. The Deer Hunter. The film seemed to bring it all back. The RPG that had left him so grievously wounded. The accidental explosion of those mortar rounds that had killed his buddies. Twelve of them.

That night passed without sleep, a waking nightmare of flashbacks and alcohol. By dawn he’d envisioned a memorial. With names on it. Maybe an obelisk. On the Mall, in Washington DC. Becky feared he might be losing his mind.

Scruggs was working for the department of labor at that time when he took a week off, to pursue the project.

The idea received little support. The project was impractical it was said, and besides, the project would distract veterans organizations from more important work. Undaunted, Scruggs soon left his job to pursue the project, full time.

It was tough going. Becky was now the sole breadwinner. In two months the project raised a scant $144.50.

Always a sign of the contemptible times in which we live, the CBS Evening News ridiculed the project. Late night “comedians” joined in the mockery and yet, that CBS report attracted the attention of powerful allies. Thousands of dollars came in, mostly in $5 and $10 denominations.

Chuck Hagel, then deputy administrator for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, took interest. Likewise John Wheeler, the fellow Vietnam vet – turned attorney who’d spearheaded the effort to erect the Southeast Asia Memorial on the military academy, at West Point.

$8 million came in over the next two years and then came the competition. The actual design. There were 1,422 submissions, so many that selections were performed in an aircraft hangar.

Much to her surprise, the winner was 1st-generation American of Chinese ancestry Maya Lin, then an undergraduate studying architecture, at Yale University.

“The Wall” was dedicated on this day. November 13, 1982.

Lin’s design is a black granite wall, 493½-feet long and 10-feet, 3-inches high at its peak, laid out in a great wedge of stone which seems to rise from the earth and return to it. The name of every person lost in the war in Vietnam is sandblasted onto the stone, appearing in the order in which they were lost.

Go to the highest point on the memorial, panel 1E, the very first name is that of Air Force Tech Sgt. Richard B. Fitzgibbon, Jr. of Stoneham, Massachusetts, killed on June 8, 1956. Some distance to his right you will find the name of Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, killed on Sept. 7, 1965. The Fitzgibbons are one of three Father/Son pairs, so memorialized.

The names begin at the center and move outward, the east wing ending on May 25, 1968. The same day continues at the far end of the west wing, moving back toward the center at panel 1W. The last name on the wall, the last person killed in the war, meets the first. The circle is closed.

There, you will find the name of Kelton Rena Turner of Los Angeles, an 18-year old Marine, killed in action on May 15, 1975 during the “Mayaguez incident”, two weeks after the evacuation of Saigon.

Most sources list Gary L. Hall, Joseph N. Hargrove and Danny G. Marshall as the last to die in Vietnam, though their fate remains, unknown. These three were United States Marines, an M-60 machine gun squad, mistakenly left behind while covering the evacuation of their comrades, from the beaches of Koh Tang Island. Their names appear along with Turner’s, on panel 1W, lines 130-131.

There were 57,939 names inscribed on the Memorial when it opened in 1982. 39,996 died at age 22 or younger. 8,283 were 19 years old. The 18-year-olds are the largest age group, with 33,103. Twelve of them were 17. Five were 16. There is one name on panel 23W, line 096, that of PFC Dan Bullock, United States Marine Corps. He was 15 years old on June 7, 1969. The day he died.

Left to right: PFC Gary Hall, KIA age 19, LCPL Joseph Hargrove, KIA on his 24th birthday, Pvt Danny Marshall, KIA age 19, PFC Dan Bullock, KIA age 15

Eight names belong to women, killed while nursing the wounded. 997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam. 1,448 died on their last. There are 31 pairs of brothers on the Wall. 62 parents who had to endure the loss of two sons.

As of Memorial Day 2015, there are 58,307, as the names of military personnel who succumbed to wounds sustained during the war, were added to the wall.

Over the years, the Wall has inspired a number of tributes, including a traveling 3/5ths scale model of the original and countless smaller ones, bringing the grandeur of Lin’s design to untold numbers without the means or the opportunity, to travel to the nation’s capital.

In South Lyons Michigan, the black marble Michigan War Dog Memorial pays tribute to the names and tattoo numbers of 4,234 “War Dogs” who served in Southeast Asia, the vast majority of whom were left behind as “surplus equipment”.

There is even a Vietnam Veterans Dog Tag Memorial, at the Harold Washington Library, in Chicago.

Ten years ago, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, www.vvmf.org began work on a virtual “Wall of Faces”, where each name is remembered with a face, and a story to go with it. In 2017, the organization was still looking for 6,000+ photographs. As I write this, there remains only 230 yet to be discovered.

Check it out. Pass it around. You might be able to help.

I was nine years old in May 1968, the single deadliest month of that war, with 2,415 killed. Fifty years later, I still remember the way so many disgraced themselves, by the way they treated those returning home from that place.

I can only hope that today, veterans of the war in Vietnam have some sense of the appreciation that is their due, the recognition too often denied them, those many years ago. And I trust my countrymen to remember. If they ever have an issue with United States war policy, they need to take it up with a politician. Not the Armed Services member who is doing what his country asked him to do.


November 13, 1982 The Wall

The names begin at the center and travel outward, the east wing ending on May 25, 1968. The same day continues at the far end of the west wing, moving back toward the center at panel 1W. The last name on the wall, the last casualty of the war, meets the first, and the circle is closed.

A couple of years ago, my brother was working in Washington, DC. I was passing through, and it was a great chance to spend some time together. There were a few things we needed to see while we were there. The grave of our grandfather, at Arlington. The Tomb of the Unknown. The Korean and WW2 memorials. Before the day was over, we wanted to see the Vietnam Veteran’s memorial.

“The Wall” was dedicated on this day, November 13, 1982. 31 years later, we had come to pay respects to our Uncle Gary’s shipmates, their names inscribed on panel 24E, the 134 lost in the disaster aboard the Supercarrier USS Forrestal, in 1967.

We were soon absorbed in the majesty, and the solemnity, of the memorial.

It’s a black granite wall, 493𔄀″ long and 10𔃽″ high at its peak, laid out in a great wedge of stone which seems to rise from the earth and return to it. The name of every person lost in the war in Vietnam is engraved on that wall, appearing in the order in which they were lost.

Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon, Jr

Go to the highest point of the memorial, panel 1E, the very first name is that of Air Force Tech Sgt. Richard B. Fitzgibbon, Jr., of Stoneham, Massachusetts, killed on June 8, 1956. Some distance to his right you will find the name of Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, killed on Sept. 7, 1965. They are one of three Father/Son pairs who are so remembered.

The names begin at the center and travel outward, the east wing ending on May 25, 1968. The same day continues at the far end of the west wing, moving back toward the center at panel 1W. The last name on the wall, the last casualty of the war, meets the first, and the circle is closed.

There, you will find the name of Kelton Rena Turner of Los Angeles, an 18-year old Marine, killed in action on May 15, 1975, in the “Mayaguez incident”, two weeks after the evacuation of Saigon. Most sources list Gary L. Hall, Joseph N. Hargrove and Danny G. Marshall as the last to die in Vietnam, though their fate is unknown. These three were United States Marines, an M-60 machine gun squad mistakenly left behind while covering the beach evacuation of Koh Tang Island. Their names appear along with Turner’s, on panel 1W, lines 130-131.

PFC Dan Bullock

There were 57,939 names when the Memorial opened in 1982. 39,996 died at the age of 22 or younger, 8,283 were 19 years old. The 18-year-olds are the largest age group, with 33,103. Twelve of them were 17 on their last day on earth. Five were 16. There is one name on panel 23W, line 096. That of PFC Dan Bullock, United States Marine Corps. He was 15 years old. Eight names are those of women, killed while nursing the wounded. 997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam. 1,448 died on their last. There are 31 pairs of brothers on the Wall: 62 parents who lost two of their sons.

As of Memorial Day 2015, there are 58,307, as the names of military personnel who succumbed to wounds sustained in the war, were added to the wall.

I was nine years old in May 1968, the single deadliest month of that war, with 2,415 killed. I remember the rancid political atmosphere of the time, and the national disgrace that was the way these people were treated on returning home.

I once thanked a business associate for his service in Vietnam. It stunned me to learn that in 40 years, no one had ever said that to him.

Today, I can only hope that Vietnam veterans know and understand how many of us appreciate their service. And I wish to advance the idea that, if anyone has an issue with our country’s war policy, they need to take it up with a politician. Not with the Armed Services member who is doing what his country asked him to do.


Reflect at the Vietnam Women’s Memorial

A popular tourist destination, the National Mall is home to several notable monuments and memorials, including the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, and Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Equally important on this symbolic landscape is the Vietnam Women’s Memorial located just north of the Reflecting Pool. The memorial was dedicated in 1993 and portrays three women caring for a fallen soldier.

During the Vietnam War, women served in many different roles. Many women served as nurses and physicians while others acted as air traffic controllers, communication specialists, and intelligence officers. The Vietnam Women’s Memorial was established to honor the women who risked their lives to serve their country. The names of the eight women who died in Vietnam are included on the list of over 58,000 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Ask a ranger to find a name on the wall and learn more about the people who served our country.


World War I ends — Nov. 11, 1918

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – Nov. 11, 1918 – the fighting in Europe in what’s now regarded as World War I was set to end thanks to an agreement commemorated around the world, variously, as Armistice Day, Remembrance Day and/or Veterans Day.

It’s said that, in actuality, shelling continued for another day or so.

Peace was only officially reached when the Treaty of Versailles was signed seven months later on June 18, 1919.

But on this November date, the front page of the Chicago Tribune blared in huge capital letters, “GREAT WAR ENDS.”

“Armistice terms have been signed by Germany, the State Department announced at 2:45 o’clock this morning,” a wire-service report from Washington, D.C., said in extra-large type. “The world war will end this morning at 6 o’clock, Washington time, 11 o’clock Paris time. The armistice was signed by the German representatives at midnight.”

Datelines with 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. time stamps were all over the front page in late editions of that morning’s Tribune.

Smaller headlines told of the Kaiser, ousted as Germany’s leader, fleeing to Holland and the new leadership in Berlin. Members of the Krupp family, whose manufacturing empire had produced German armaments (and would again in World War II), were under arrest.

Alerting Chicagoans of this breaking news in the middle of the night was not a simple thing. There was not even commercial radio in those days.

“The Tribune set off its giant sirens and within a few minutes the sleeping town was astir,” the paper reported. "The Tribune sirens were at least five minutes ahead of any other noise producing instruments in informing the public of the news.

“Within 10 minutes, a long procession of bluejackets who were asleep in downtown hotels or awaiting trains in hotel lobbies had poured into the street and formed a cheering procession past the Tribune office (on) Madison Street.”

Bluejackets, or jackies, are sailors.

“Jackies and soldiers in other parts of the city soon were emulating the first detachments and they were joined inside of half an hour by yelling, howling throngs of civilians, who made the sleeping Loop resemble the jam and jumble of midday,” the Tribune said.

Not exactly an email or alert popping up on your phone, but it got the job done.


Contents

The Vietnam Era Museum and Educational Center is adjacent to the memorial, and is the first of its kind in the country. According to one of the officials here, the state asked the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. what she would do over again given the chance to redesign the memorial. She said that, without an educational center explaining the war and turmoil in the country at that time, a memorial could be meaningless to passerby. This is the rationale for the existence of the facility. In 2010, the Vietnam Era Educational Center was changed to the Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center.

No one is buried on the memorial site, except for the original owners of the land. The property was given to the state to build on, and the owners only asked that they continue to be able to be buried here.

The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Foundation (NJVVMF) is a private nonprofit established that operates the Memorial, Museum and Educational Center. Governor Thomas Kean signed a bill in 1986 creating the 14-member New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Committee within the Department of State. Senator Edward O'Connor, the first Vietnam Veteran elected to the state senate, was selected to serve as chairman. The committee was charged with selecting an appropriate site, selecting an appropriate design, and raising funds to complete the construction.

The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Foundation was created and incorporated under the laws of the State of New jersey as a non-profit corporation in 1989. The Memorial Committee continued in an oversight capacity, relying on the Foundation's officers, trustees, executive director, and volunteers to pursue the day-to-day needs of the project. The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Committee was also transferred from the Department of State to the newly created Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

In June 1987, Governor Kean signed legislation appropriating $25,000 to administer a statewide competition for the design of the memorial. The memorial design competition ran through the summer of 1988 and drew 421 entries. On July 1987, the winning design for the memorial, submitted by Hien Nguyen - a naturalized American citizen who had escaped from Vietnam thirteen years earlier - was unveiled.


Memorial Day

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Memorial Day, formerly Decoration Day, in the United States, holiday (last Monday in May) honouring those who have died in the nation’s wars. It originated during the American Civil War when citizens placed flowers on the graves of those who had been killed in battle. More than a half dozen places have claimed to be the birthplace of the holiday. In October 1864, for instance, three women in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, are said to have decorated the graves of loved ones who died during the Civil War they then returned in July 1865 accompanied by many of their fellow citizens for a more general commemoration. A large observance, primarily involving African Americans, took place in May 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina. Columbus, Mississippi, held a formal observance for both Union and Confederate dead in 1866. By congressional proclamation in 1966, Waterloo, New York, was cited as the birthplace, also in 1866, of the observance. In 1868 John A. Logan, the commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans, promoted a national holiday on May 30 “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” Memorial Day is celebrated on Monday, May 31, 2021.

When is Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is celebrated in the United States on the last Monday in May. In 2021 Memorial Day is on May 31.

What is the history of Memorial Day?

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, began during the American Civil War when citizens placed flowers on the graves of those who had been killed in battle. After World War I, it came to be observed in honour of those who had died in all U.S. wars, and its name changed to Memorial Day.

What are some Memorial Day traditions?

Memorial Day traditions include the laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery religious services, parades, and speeches across the United States and the placement of flags, insignia, and flowers on the graves of veterans.


November 13, 1982: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Is Dedicated in Washington, DC

November 13, 2015

Names of fallen servicemen on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. (Wikimedia Commons)

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A few weeks after the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened on the National Mall on this day in 1982, the journalist Peter Marin wrote a piece for The Nation considering how well the memorial encapsulated what the war had really been about, both in Southeast Asia and at home.

The dedication of the Vietnam veterans’ memorial on the Washington Mall two weeks ago aroused the familiar controversies about its design and its cultural and political functions, echoing many of the points of view about the war that remain among us. There is very little one can say about the monument itself. Its clean lines demand contemplation rather than patriotism or veneration, and perhaps no one can argue with that but they do very little to remind Americans about the actual nature of the Vietnam War—the horrors and corruption, the moral culpability and negligence, the excesses—or about their own country. One cannot be surprised by that, of course. Roland Barthes pointed out long ago that a culture’s myths serve two functions at once: they commemorate the past but also disguise it, they make it both more and less than it was, they erode history and with it the palpable truths of specific human action and its consequences. It is much the same with monuments or memorials. These are the material ways societies mythologize the past, making it a part of memory rather than thought, an object of sentiment rather than sentience. The Vietnam memorial is no exception, and the fact that we do the same thing in America makes us no worse than anyone else one can hardly expect images of napalmed children and weeping parents to remind us of what the war was really like. And it is true, too, that there are so many veterans currently in one sort of distress or another that one ought not to be overly scrupulous about anything that may, like the memorial, alleviate it. And yet, having said that, one must say something more. It would be unfortunate for us all, including the veterans, if the memorial had the effect of closing the door on the past or trying to heal the wounds left behind—as if, in the words of a veteran I met recently, “everything was all right now, all hunky-dory, we’re all friends again and all that shit, and the war itself will be forgotten.” For we have not, as a people, really come to terms with what the vets are only now, as the war gradually recedes into the past, beginning to learn about themselves and can perhaps teach the rest of us.

To mark The Nation’s 150th anniversary, every morning this year The Almanac will highlight something that happened that day in history and how The Nation covered it. Get The Almanac every day (or every week) by signing up to the e-mail newsletter.

Richard Kreitner Twitter Richard Kreitner is a contributing writer and the author of Break It Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America's Imperfect Union. His writings are at www.richardkreitner.com.

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"V" Shaped Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated - This Day in History – Nov 13th

Back in 1982, 57,939 names of Americans who died in the Vietnam War were placed on a long-awaited dedicated memorial in Washington, D.C. The arrangement of the "V" shaped black-granite wall was arranged in the common ran of order of death, not rank. Yale University Architectural Student Maya Lin, who won a nationwide competition of the memorial, designed this unique structure.

According to history.com, "Veterans and families of the dead walked the black reflective wall, seeking the names of their loved ones killed in the conflict. Once the name was located, visitors often made an etching or left a private offering, from notes and flowers to dog tags and cans of beer. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial soon became one of the most visited memorials in the nation's capital. A Smithsonian Institution director called it "a community of feelings, almost a sacred precinct," and a veteran declared that "it's the parade we never got." "The Wall" drew together both those who fought and those who marched against the war and served to promote national healing a decade after the divisive conflict's end."


November 13, 1982 Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial

Eight years ago, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, http://www.vvmf.org began work on a virtual “Wall of Faces”, where each name is remembered with a face, and a story to go with it. As I write this, the organization is still in need of some 6,000 photographs.

Check it out. Pass it around. You might be able to help.

Several years ago, my brother was working in Washington, part of his work in military aviation. I was passing through, and it was a rare opportunity to spend some time together. There were a few things that we needed to see while we were there. The grave of our father’s father, at Arlington. The Tomb of the Unknown. The memorials to the second world war, and the war in Korea.

And before it was over, we wanted to see the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.

“The Wall” was dedicated on this day, November 13, 1982. Thirty-one years later, we had come to pay a debt of honor to Uncle Gary’s shipmates, the 134 names inscribed on panel 24E, victims of the 1967 disaster aboard the Supercarrier, USS Forrestal.

We were soon absorbed in the majesty and the solemnity, of the place.

The Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial is a black granite wall, 493½-feet long and 10-feet, 3-inches high at its peak, laid out in a great wedge of stone which seems to rise from the earth and return to it. The name of every person lost in the war in Vietnam is engraved on that wall, appearing in the order in which they were lost.

Go to the highest point of the memorial, panel 1E, the very first name is that of Air Force Tech Sgt. Richard B. Fitzgibbon, Jr., of Stoneham, Massachusetts, killed on June 8, 1956. Some distance to his right you will find the name of Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, killed on Sept. 7, 1965. They are one of three Father/Son pairs, so remembered.

The names begin at the center and move outward, the east wing ending on May 25, 1968. The same day continues at the far end of the west wing, moving back toward the center at panel 1W. The last name on the wall, the last person killed in the war, meets the first. The circle is closed.

There, you will find the name of Kelton Rena Turner of Los Angeles, an 18-year old Marine, killed in action on May 15, 1975 in the “Mayaguez incident”, two weeks after the evacuation of Saigon. Most sources list Gary L. Hall, Joseph N. Hargrove and Danny G. Marshall as the last to die in Vietnam, though their fate remains, unknown. These three were United States Marines, an M-60 machine gun squad, mistakenly left behind while covering the evacuation of their comrades, from the beaches of Koh Tang Island. Their names appear along with Turner’s, on panel 1W, lines 130-131.


Watch the video: This Day in History - 11613 (January 2022).