Standing before a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, state Sen. Mark Green recently called for Tennesseans to search their photo albums for photographs of those who were killed in Vietnam.
In addition, Green asked his fellow state legislators from across the nation to join Tennessee in the search for the remaining 22,000-plus photos of Vietnam heroes.
The photos are needed for a multimedia display at the new Education Center at the Wall, a facility to be built between the existing Wall and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The display, Green said, will “bring the names on ‘The Wall’ to life, to teach future generations that these were living, breathing men and women -- not just names carved in granite.”
“There are 1,295 Tennesseans whose names are on ‘The Wall’ in Washington, but we’ve found photos of only 596,” Green said. “In attics and scrapbooks all over Tennessee are the photos of 699 heroes who deserve to be remembered. Your snapshot will help preserve the story of an American hero for generations to come.”
Those from Wilson County whose names do not have a photo include:
• Army Pfc. Billy E. Stevenson, Aug. 9, 1947-June 22, 1966.
• Army Sgt. Clyde A. Ward, March 16, 1937-May 21, 1967.
• Army Spc. James E. Bush, June 20, 1945-March 4, 1966.
• Army Spc. Jerry D. Lancaster, Sept. 1, 1947-Oct. 17, 1967.
• Marine Corps Pfc. Ronnie C. Presley, Oct. 26, 1947-March 6, 1968.
According to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund this is the first time a state legislature has taken on this task.
“The photo collection is a mission my colleagues from across Tennessee and the country should take on wholeheartedly. We can honor the men and women who gave all and respect those who returned home from the Vietnam War,” Green said.
“The photo project brings a personal touch of remembrance to those Americans who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Without the public’s help, the memory of these men and women may be forgotten,” VVMF founder and president Jan C. Scruggs said.
The event featured remarks by retired Lt. Gen. Hugh Smith, a decorated Vietnam veteran who served in high-ranking and sensitive military posts before retiring to become chief operating officer of both the Nashville International Airport and John C. Tune General Aviation.
Other dignitaries at the “Faces of Valor” rally included Sens. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, and Delores R. Gresham, R-Somerville; Tennessee Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Mary-Bears Grinder; former Commissioner Fred Tucker; retired Gen. Gary E. Luck, senior advisor, U.S Joint Forces Command; retired Lt. Col. Bud Guenther; retired Navy Corpsman Thurman “Doc” Mullins; and Michelle Selesky, whose father was a Vietnam veteran.
Photos of those lost in Vietnam can be submitted to Green’s office, or for more information about how to submit photos to the VVMF, visit buildthecenter.org. Green assured original photos submitted to his office would be returned unharmed.
To view the photos that have already been submitted or see if someone is among those without a photo, visit The Wall of Faces website at vvmf.org/wall-of-faces.