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Naming those lost in Vietnam War

Posted 11/9/2012   Updated 11/9/2012 Email story   Print story

    


by Donovan Jackson
Dispatch staff writer


11/9/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- As part of a national initiative to honor Vietnam veterans, the Maxwell community and private organizations are reading the names of fallen Vietnam
service members from Alabama.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund requested communities nationwide to read the names of fallen service members from their towns or those that hold a
special meaning to them who are engraved in the granite of the memorial.

The Maxwell group recorded the reading Wednesday at Gunter's Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy, which can be viewed online through Vietnam
Veterans Memorial Fund's website at www.wmf.org.

The organization is currently hosting the reading of the names in Washington, D.C., as part of the special activities planned in November to
commemorate The Wall's 30th anniversary.

Participants recorded their tributes and shared their videos, which were uploaded to the website and social media pages created specifically for the
reading.

The fund expanded the project to include names of those veterans who died of Vietnam related causes, like Agent Orange, but did not meet the Department
of Defense's requirements for inclusion on The Wall.

To assist with reading the more than 1,200 names of Alabama service members, Joe Panza, executive director of the Air University Foundation and a retired
Air Force colonel, recruited members from the Enlisted Heritage Research Institute and the Senior NCO Academy.

"Being a Vietnam veteran, this event is especially important to me," said Panza. "I am glad the reading of the names is being done nationwide, I hope
it will increase awareness of their sacrifice and reinforce credit that should have been given originally to those that served in the war."

The Montgomery chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, the Alabama chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America and the Air Force Association
Chapter 102 participated as well.

"I am very grateful to be a part of this event," said Bob Gifford, Montgomery chapter president of the Military Officers Association of America
and a retired Air Force colonel. "Originally, Americans were not in support of the Vietnam War, so it's a good feeling to know that those veterans are
finally getting the recognition that they deserve."

Construction of the memorial began on March 16, 1982, and was completed during late October of that year. There are currently 58,282 names on The
Wall.

The reading of the names took place in Washington, D.C., just four other times in The Wall's history. In November 1982, the names were read aloud at
Washington National Cathedral as part of a weeklong National Salute to Vietnam Veterans.

This weekend marks the fifth time all the names have been aloud.

In November 1982, the names were first read aloud at Washington National Cathedral as part of a weeklong National Salute to Veterans.

"I am very privileged to have been asked to lead this effort (at Maxwell)," Panza said. "Men that I served with in Vietnam, their names are on that list
and they fought for their country honorably. They are more than deserving of this tribute."



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