- The Healing Stone. A Shrine of Reconciliation. The Wall. America’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial has been given many names.
- American Vietnam War veteran
Jan C. Scruggs, M.Ed., BS and MEd and his law degree.
He conceived the idea of building a memorial dedicated to all who served in the U.S. Armed Forces in Vietnam.
Scruggs was a wounded and decorated Vietnam War veteran, having served in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade of the U.S. Army.
He felt a memorial would serve as a healing device for a different kind of wound – that inflicted on our national psyche by the long and controversial war.
In May 1979, Scruggs took $2,800 of his own money and launched the effort.
He gained the support of other Vietnam veterans in persuading Congress to provide a prominent location on federal property somewhere in Washington, D.C..
After a difficult struggle, Congress responded and the site chosen was on the Mall near the Lincoln Memorial.
Serving as president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc., the non-profit organization set up to build the Memorial, Scruggs headed up the effort that raised $8.4 million and saw the Memorial completed in two years.
It was dedicated on November 13, 1982, during a week-long national “salute” to Vietnam veterans in the nation’s capital.
His story of building the Memorial, To Heal A Nation, was made into an NBC-TV Movie of the Week in 1988.
Scruggs is a member of the Selective Service Appeals Board, a board member of the National Veterans Legal Services Project, and special assistant to the Chairman of the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
In 1993 he was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans by the U.S. Jaycees.