New Memorial Honors, Educates About Modern Veterans

New Memorial Honors, Educates About Modern Veterans

A new effort has begun in Washington DC to build a new education center to tell the stories of generations of veterans killed in combat.

On Wednesday, Jill Biden and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta gathered with military families for a ceremonial groundbreaking on a site next to the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall for the $85 million museum. The veterans group that built the Vietnam memorial wants to open the center in 2014, in time to welcome the last troops home from Afghanistan.

"To memorialize those who died in Iraq and Afghanistan so quickly, it just means a lot to the country, to the families, to the military," said Adm. Michael Mullen, a Vietnam veteran who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Look how long it took to get the World War II Memorial – that was just fairly recent."

Each of the 58,000 fallen soldiers listed on the Vietnam memorial wall will be pictured in the center with details about their lives. Some of the 400,000 mementos left at the memorial wall since it opened in 1982 will be displayed there, including Purple Hearts from both world wars, Korea and Vietnam. In addition, the 6,600 U.S. soldiers killed since 9/11 will be pictured alongside their predecessors who served in Vietnam. Exhibits could feature the last battle flag brought home from Iraq and history dating back to the American Revolution.

Panetta said it will be a "new national landmark" by remembering all veterans, including the 9/11 generation, which has fought in the nation's longest time of warfare.

"The lessons of war that we have learned must never, ever be forgotten," Panetta said. "We also know today's veterans deserve a healing place of their own."

Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, said it's important to have a place that explains what war memorials represent.

"There are many Americans who don't know anyone in the military," she said. "That's why the education center is so important to me. It will help ensure that our veterans will always be remembered, not just in name but by their actions."

 

 

 

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