Hundreds of Vietnam veterans who died because of Agent Orange exposure will be memorialized Saturday

Abbie Bennett
June 14, 2019 - 10:26 am
VietnamMemorial

Courtesy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund

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Thousands of Vietnam veterans have died of complications from exposure to the toxic herbicide Agent Orange since the war ended. 

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) "In Memory" program honors those veterans and others who died since returning home from the war but are not eligible for inscription on the Vietnam War Memorial Wall. 

Each year, the VVMF hosts an "In Memory" ceremony for those veterans, inducting them into the program and reading their names on the East Knoll of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. 

This year, 534 veterans whose lives were cut short because of their service in Vietnam will be honored. To see a list of their names, click here. More than 400 of those 534 honored this year died because of Agent Orange exposure. 

“There are more than 58,000 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial; names of men and women who died on the battlefield of the Vietnam War. Those men and women are honored on a daily basis by everyone who sees The Wall. There are many thousands more who died as a result of the Vietnam War, but their deaths do not fit the Department of Defense criteria for inclusion on The Wall," said Jim Knotts, president, and CEO of VVMF.

"VVMF’s 'In Memory' program honors those veterans, many of whom came home to fight a whole new battle and never fully recovered either physically or emotionally. It is our duty to make sure their sacrifice is never forgotten."

This year's ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, June 15 at 10 a.m. More than 2,000 family members and supporters are expected to attend. The master of ceremonies will be retired Navy Capt. Denis Faherty. Knotts is the keynote speaker. 

The "In Memory" program began in 1993 by the Friends of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and VVMF began managing it in 1999. More than 3,600 veterans have been added to the honor roll since the program began.

There is a plaque on the grounds of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial put in place in 2004 dedicated to those veterans. It reads: "In memory of the men and women who served in the Vietnam War and later died as a result of their service. We honor and remember their sacrifice." 

If you know a veteran who should be memorialized in the "In Memory" program, you can apply here

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