Touch The Wall Fingers touching James W Herrick Jr's name on the Wall

Way Back When......

Updated 23 September 2014

Friends of Vietnam Veterans Memorial (FVVM), morning
In Memory service, Reflecting Pool Knoll, Washington DC - click to enlarge

Marcy Meyer, author, Spring 1995, Among Friends
Newsletter, - click to enlarge

Al Santoli, author, October 23, 1994,
Parade Magazine, - click to enlarge

In October 1993, I began the best volunteer job a person could ever wish for. I began participating the moment I entered the Friends of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (FVVM) office on Wilson Blvd in Arlington Virginia. I saw an advert asking for volunteers for the upcoming Veteran's Day celebrations at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and it was kismet that the office was one block from our new condo. I met four women that immediately made me feel like I had a lot to contribute. Corky Condon, Nancy Smoyer, Wanda Ruffin, and Marcy Meyer captured my heart and sparked my enthusiasm for the goals they had established. I would have paid them to be a FVVM volunteer. For the next two and one half years, we did incredible work and my involvement intertwined through many of their amazing veteran programs. There was this one project, the "In Memory" that was conducted twice yearly and the established ceremony was a program we all eagerly wanted to volunteer to be the program guardians.

These two articles were like many that we circulated around the country trying to encourage families of veterans whose loved ones would not be engraved on the memorial, that we had a very special way to honor, recognize and respect these dedicated veterans who no longer were with their loved ones. Our interactive ceremony encouraged attending families to participate in the sunrise memorial of their loved ones. There was also a journal that was updated and maintained that displayed all participants. Although a veteran might not have been on "The Wall" it did not mean that they were not being honored at the Memorial. Whenever we set up at the Reflecting Pool, for any holiday or remembrance, this Book of Heroes was predominately displayed.

After my family retired to Florida, I had the most amazing honor to host an "In Memory" ceremony at the 1997 Venice, Florida, Moving Wall event. The FVVM "In Memory" ceremonies were normally only conducted at the Memorial in DC but I obtained special permission to conduct the ceremony for three families who could not travel to DC and since The Moving Wall™ was in town, it offered the perfect and serine atmosphere to host this solemn and respectful event.

John and Mary Banda, - click to enlarge

William and
Kay Leogrande, - click to enlarge


Background after 1998

Sometime during 1998, the "In Memory" program came under the supervision of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) and it continues to the present day. The ceremony is still conducted albeit just once a year and there may be some minor changes but thankfully the Honor Roll Book continues for these veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for what transpired in the past.

Everyone should know who Ruth Coder Fitzgerald is! I wish that I had the honor of personally meeting her, instead of just internet connecting. Ruth Coder Fitzgerald is the former President of the Vietnam War In Memory Memorial, Inc. and had a vision that these veterans who were no longer among us, would now have an appropriate and respectable memorial.

You are invited to browse her web site: to learn more about the In Memory Plaque - its conception, development and inauguration. This incredible project brings recognition and honor to those men and women who died after, but due to, their service in the Vietnam War, cannot by Department of Defense guidelines be recognized by name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Plaque near the Memorial, - click to enlarge

She said it would be impossible to identify by name all of the postwar casualties for whom the In Memory commemorative plaque serves as a point of honor. However, the symbolic recognition will call their unseen sacrifice to the attention of all who visit the Memorial, reinforcing the legendary emotional healing power of the Wall.

She states that an alarming number of Vietnam Veterans have died to young from illnesses stemming from toxic herbicides (cancers; diabetes), war wounds, PTSD (heart attacks; suicide), and Hepatitis C, among others. The death toll continues climbing and is expected to get worse. Before her persistence, there was no memorial recognizing the sacrifice of Vietnam Veterans who continue to die as a direct result of their service in Vietnam. The plaque would not contain individual names, but a simple statement recognizing the fact that so many have died as a result of their service, forever ensuring that all the sacrifices will be acknowledged.

For more information on the ceremony or to download either Word or PDF application, www. .


In Memory Veterans (PDF) Updated 23 September 2014

This list is in PDF format because it is so large, you will have to download the information to review.


First column is the Year veteran was honored, not necessarily the year they died
Next column is the State they were from (not necessarily their HOR (home of record)
Third column is the City they were from (not necessarily their HOR (home of record)
Third column is the City they were from (not necessarily their HOR (home of record)

Please note: Veterans recognized before 2003, are under construction