Remember faces of fallen

Our nation’s war in Vietnam in the 1960s and ’70s was a painful time due to harsh division over support vs. condemnation of the war, and many still find the memories hard to face.

But the casualties themselves have faces and deserve our attention.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, that famous black stone wall, is inscribed all over with 58,286 names of Americans killed in that war. This wall of names is a symbol powerful enough to reduce many people to tears.

Even so, the names alone tell us very little about these men (and women, although the vast majority are male). For each name, the curious person might wonder about many things: what he looked like, where he came from, when and where he or she died, or where one might visit his or her grave.

You don’t have to wonder, though. You can know.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website (www.vvmf.org) contains a wonderful project called the Wall of Faces. For every name on the physical wall, the Wall of Faces has biographical information: date of birth, date of death, hometown, branch of service, rank, location of the name on the physical wall, even the Vietnamese province where the death occurred.

However, not every entry on the Wall of Faces has any photo to go with it. Many of these fallen sons and brothers are faceless in the public eye, and this is where we get to the point of today’s editorial. Maybe some of you readers can help put a face on them.

The New York Press Association has taken up the cause of helping the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund get photos posted for more Vietnam War casualties. So far, the NYPA says, the VVMF has photos for about 34,000 of them and still needs about 24,000.

We suggest people take a look at the Wall of Faces. There are several men from Fulton and Montgomery counties who gave their lives who have no photos posted.

A photo can help people remember those who gave their lives were more than just names. They were parents, children and siblings – members of a community who gave their lives for the rest of us.