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Faces never forgotten: Putting faces with names on The Wall

Jim Knotts is president and CEO of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. He is an Air Force Veteran of the Persian Gulf War and a graduate of the Air Force Academy.

The old saying is “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) needs your help to put a face with each of the 58,307 names listed on The Wall. Pictures collected so far are online on The Wall of Faces where family and friends can leave remembrances, and will be displayed permanently in the future Education Center at The Wall. Each “face” is a story of a life cut short that is to be remembered and honored. VVMF is committed to finding a photo to go with every name on The Wall to further preserve the legacy of those who sacrificed all in Vietnam.

Since 2009, VVMF’s Faces Never Forgotten photo collection campaign has received more than 42,000, but organizers realize it will get harder as the number remaining dwindles.

If you have a picture of a loved one or fellow Veteran whose name is on The Wall, please help VVMF honor these individuals by putting a face with a name. Not sure if there is already a photo posted? Just search the Wall of Faces by name to check. Regardless of whether or not VVMF has a photo of the individual already, multiple photos are encouraged.

Volunteers all across the nation have been instrumental in helping find photos. Photos have come in from family members, friends, fellow Veterans, high school classmates and many other sources. To date, six states have found all of their photos: North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Many other states have just a few left to find. VVMF can provide lists of names by region so that volunteers can look for photos of service members from their area.

Photos can be accepted in numerous ways. They can be uploaded directly to VVMF’s website or a printed copy can be mailed to the VVMF office. Photos also can be brought to any visit of VVMF’s traveling replica of The Wall, The Wall That Heals, to be scanned for upload into the Wall of Faces. Click here to see when The Wall That Heals may be in your area. For more information on how to submit a photo, click here, or contact VVMF at inbox@vvmf.org.

The clock is ticking … In the future, the photos will be displayed in the Education Center at The Wall. The center will be a place on our National Mall where current and future generations will learn about the impact of the Vietnam War and era. It will speak to the importance of honoring our Veterans and remembering those who died serving our country. The center is currently in the fundraising stages with a goal of having all funds raised by 2018 so that construction can start and the doors can open in 2020. VVMF hopes to have all of the photos before the opening of the center.