Preliminary plans for education center at Vietnam Veterans Memorial get green light

The Education Center will put a face to every name on the Wall, presenting the portrait and biographical information of each fallen servicemember. This tribute to soldiers who died in the Vietnam War will cycle between a mosaic of many faces and a montage of three portraits at a time, for focused viewing.


By STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 12, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The "Herculean task" of building an education center near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington took another step forward Thursday when the National Capital Planning Commission approved the preliminary building plans.

"This means we can move forward," said Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund spokesman Lee Allen, who added that "getting permission to build anything on the National Mall is a Herculean task."

Allen noted that Thursday's approval was a monumental moment, as VVMF members have been in a "nine-year struggle" to get the Education Center at The Wall built.

The National Capital Planning Commission approved the site of the new center in 2006, but stipulated that it must be built underground so views of other national monuments would not be obstructed.

Expected to cost roughly $85 million, the learning center will be a place where the stories of Vietnam veterans will be preserved to ensure their sacrifices are not forgotten, according to Allen. The faces and stories of all 58,282 veterans whose names are on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall will be featured at the center, he said/

With Thursday's green light, Allen said, architects can now go forward with drafting the final blueprints for the center, and groundbreaking on the construction site is expected to take place in November.

The Education Center will display some of the more than 150,000 offerings left at the Wall to date.

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