Jan Scruggs - Vietnam Veterans Memorial Founder

As you walk along it, you can see your own reflection among the names [inscribed on it]. And, this actually has a psychological effect on people, as they think about what life is all about. How fragile, life can end. My name is Jan Scruggs. I’m the president and founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I am actually so old enough to have been in the Vietnam War. Managed to get myself pretty seriously wounded. This [the Vietnam War] was an extraordinary event in American History, the most divisive since the Civil war. It would have been pretty easy to forget it. And I think that is what the nation was trying to do. But it was my job to make sure that didn’t happen. This photograph is Corporal Daniel Steven Bettancourt, killed in action, age 22, United States Marine Corps. He was my neighbor. We played together as kids. He wanted to be a Marine. This is a place for young people. This is a memorial about them, about the future. This is very interesting, a flower. It’s almost haunting, how beautiful it is, sitting here and important.

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