The bitterness I feel when I remember carrying the lifeless bodies of close friends through the mire of Vietnam will probably never subside. I still wonder if anything can be found to bring any purpose to all the suffering and death. I recently came across some lines from a poem by Archibald MacLeish, "The Young Dead Soldiers," which may give that sacrifice some meaning: "They say: We were young. We have died. Remember us. "
Jan C. Scruggs
November 11, 1979
-- Round One: Making the Case --
Round One moves in chronological order from material on the sorry state of the returning veteran beginning in the late 1960s, to Jan Scruggs' first public appearances in print and the initial drive to build a memorial in the middle to late1970s, to Congressional hearings and approval early in 1980, and to President Carter approving the legislation in July 1980.
7: "The Re-Entry Problem of the Vietvets," by William Barry Furlong,
Jan 12: "Oh, You're Back?" Time, 01/12/68, 15
John Wayne's film The Green Berets based on the 1965 novel by Robin Moore. See:
Alasdair Spark, "The Soldier at the Heart of the War: The Myth of the Green Beret," Journal of American Studies 18.1 (1984): 29-48.
May 28: Jan Scruggs is wounded near Xuan Loc.
27: Life magazine humanizes the "body count" by publishing
the photographs of all
Nov 13: The "March Against Death" in Washington."The American Dead in Vietnam," Life, 06/27/69, 20-32.
15: "Wounded Unembittered by War Critics," Nan Robertson, New
York Times, 11/15/69, 1:20
**: The events at My Lai become public.
Jan 21: Scruggs
witnesses 12 friends killed while unloading an ammo truck.
xxx xx: The tv film Welcome Home Johnny Bristol about a returning P.O.W.
xxx xx: The term "Post-Vietnam Syndrome" (later "Post-traumatic Disorder") is coined.
**: The Winter Soldier Investigation (read into the Congressional
Record by Senator Hatfield,
Apr 19: The "March on Washington" organized by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
26: "From Dakto to Detroit: The Death of a Troubled Hero," by Jon
Nordheimer, New York
Jun 05: "Public Jobs for the Jobless," New York Times, 06/05/71, 1:28 (New York Times)
07: "'Syndrome' Found in Returned G.I.'s," by Ralph Blumenthal, New
York Times, 06/07/71,
May 03: "Delayed Trauma in Veterans Cited," New York Times, 05/03/72, 1:19 (New York Times)
21: "Postwar Shock Besets Ex-G.I.s," by Jon Nordheimer, New York
Sep 15: Untitled OpEd by John O'Neill, New York Times, 09/15/72, 36 (New York Times)
23: "President Praises Returning G.I.'s," by Linda Charlton, New
York Times, 10/23/72, A1
Jan **: Congress approves the creation of a Tomb of the Unknown at Arlington.
**: "New Profiles in Courage," by Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, Reader's
Digest, February 1973,
08: House Joint resolution 338 to honor the war dead with a grove
of trees, introduced by
Feb 14: "Flag at Full Staff Today for Captives," New York Times, 02/14/73, 1:16 (New York Times)
Feb 28: "M. I. A. Culpa," by Nicholas von Hoffman, Washington Post, 02/28/73, B1
Mar 03: Study by Ralph Nader: Troubled Peace.
04: "Viet Combat G. I.'s Held Shortchanged," by Peter Braestrup,
Mar 05: "The Vets: Heroes as Orphans," Newsweek, 03/05/73, 22, 24
Mar 05: "The Permanent War Prisoners," Newsweek, 03/05/73, 23-24
Mar 08: A broadcast of David Rabe's Sticks and Bones is cancelled:
"Stones for 'Sticks,'" by Tom Shales, Washington Post, 03/08/73, E11.
10: "Texas Group Plans Salute to Vietnam Veterans at Cotton Bowl,"
Mar 12: "Forgotten Warriors?" Time, 03/12/73, 17-18
Mar 30: Final U.S. troops withdrawn from Vietnam.
Mar 31: "The Washington Merry-Go-Round," by Jack Anderson, Washington Post, 03/10/73, D31
May 25: "Ex-P.O.W.'s Cheer," John Herbers, New York Times, 05/25/73, 1:1 (New York Times)
02: "400 Ex-P.O.W.'s Are Given $400,000 Dallas Reception," New
York Times, 06/02/73, 1:8
20: Senator Alan Cranston puts a Veteran's Administration letter
asking for legislation to deal
07: House Joint Resolutions #381 and #865 establish a "Vietnam Veterans
Day" for March 30,
Mar 29: "The Real Honors," New York Times, 03/29/74, A34 (New York Times)
30: "Viet Vets: A Sad Reminder, Day of Tribute Evokes Pain, Rage,"
by William Greider,
25: Meanwhile, On the Hill, Lobbying and Politicking As Usual," by
William V. Shannon,
29: "Ford Orders Federal Agencies to Hire 70,000 Vietnam Era Veterans
by July 1," by
Apr 05: "Earthquake Vietnam," New York Times, 04/05/75, 28 (New York Times)
Apr 14: "How Should Americans Feel?" Time, 04/14/75, 27
Apr 21: "Last Exit from Vietnam," Time, 04/21/75, 7
Apr 30: Fall of Saigon (articles -- Newsweek -- see Dudley)
May 07: President Ford declares this day the end of the Vietnam War era.
19: "TV's Newest Villain: The Vietnam Veteran," by R. Brewin, TV
Guide, 07/19/75, 4
Aug 4: "The Invisible
Vietnam Veteran," by James H. Webb, Washington Post, 08/04/76: A11
23: "The Old, Unhealed Wounds of Vietnam: Conversations with Three
18: "The VA's Max Cleland: A New Kind of Battle," by Myra MacPherson,
May 25: "Forgotten
Veterans of 'That Peculiar War," by Jan Craig Scruggs, Washington Post,
Jun 22: Scruggs
testifies at a Senate Hearing on the Veteran's Health Care Amendments
his testimony, Scruggs cites his work as consistent with that of Robert
Robert J. Lifton, "The Post-War War," Journal of Social Issues, 31.4 (1975):Dec 02: "The Class That Went to War," Washington Post, 12/02/77, ???? editorial [3/29/74??]
xxx xx: The movie Coming Home ?????
Apr 08: "A Plaque for Vietnam," by Josh Martin, Nation, 04/08/78, 389
28: "Walking Amid History at Arlington Cemetery," by Richard Cohen,
May 29: Editorial, Washington Post, 05/29/78, ???? (Lexis-Nexis)
29: "'Range of Intangibles' Said Hurting Viet Vets the Most," by
29: "Vietnam Vets: Does Congress Finally Understand?" by Colman McCarthy,
Aug 05: Scruggs writes bitterly of continued Congressional inaction to help veterans.
Nov 12: "Veterans Day: 'Ignored' Men of Vietnam Owed a Debt, Carter Says," by"Continuing Indifference to Vietnam Veterans," by Jan C. Scruggs, Washington Post, 08/05/78: A15 (Course Documents) (Lexis-Nexis?)
Stephanie Mansfield, Washington Post, 11/12/78, C1 (Lexis-Nexis)
24: Tv movie Green Eyes.
Jan 29: "Vietnam Veterans -- Peace at Last?" U. S. News and World Report, 01/29/79, 16
Mar **: Scruggs
sees The Deer Hunter, after which, he says several times, he conceived
Mar **: Scruggs'
proposal for a memorial falls flat at a meeting of forty veterans planning
27: "How [Now?] Vietnam Veterans [Vets?] Demand Their Rights," by
27: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is incorporated as a non-profit
28: "Vietnam Veterans Still Feel Chill from the White House," by
28: "Vietnam Veterans Needs Unfulfilled," by Jack Anderson,
May 28: Scruggs holds a press conference to kick off fund raising.
May 28: Beginning of Vietnam Veterans Week."Vietnam Veterans to Seek $1 Million for a Monument," New York Times, 05/28/79: A8 (Course Documents) (New York Times)
May 30: White House dinner for Vietnam veterans"Memorial Day Services, Activities Planned in Area; Veterans Ask Vietnam War Remembrance; Veterans Urge Look at Lessons Of Vietnam War," by Thomas Morgan, Washington Post, 05/28/79, C1 (Lexis-Nexis)
Jun **: Some poignant letters come in with small donations, but Roger Mudd reports"Honoring That Extra Measure of Sacrifice," by Myra MacPherson,
wryly on the CBS Evening News that only $144.50 has been collected, and Scruggs
is made fun of by a late-night tv comedian.
John C. Wheeler becomes involved, meeting with Scruggs and Doubek.
Aug **: Wheeler
helps convene a meeting of veterans who become the nucleus of a
A Fine Arts Commission official suggests a site near Arlington Cemetery
Aug 04: Scruggs'
efforts bear fruit when New Jersey Senator Charles Mathias calls and asks
19: "The Screening of Vietnam," by James Webb, Washington Post,
Sep **: Scruggs,
Doubek, Wheeler, and three National Park Service officials meet with Senator
Oct 24: Meeting
with National Capital Memorial Advisory Committee results in an invitation
Oct? Senator Warner and direct mail campaign
25: James Webb shows draft legislation to Congressman John Hammerschmidt
Nov 8: At a press
conference (designed to coincide with Veteran's Day celebrations) led by
Nov 11: Veteran's Day:"Vietnam War Memorial; Senate Bill Proposes Site on Mall," by Donald P. Baker, Washington Post, 11/9/79: C1 (Lexis-Nexis)(Course Documents)
Nov 13: "What the Vietnam Veteran Needs," by James Webb, Congressional Record: Vol 125,"We Were Young. We Have Died. Remember Us," by Jan C. Scruggs, Washington Post, 11/11/79: B4 (Course Documents) (Lexis-Nexis)
Part 24, 32250 (reprinted from Marine Corps Gazette) (Course Documents)
Dec 01: Full-time
executive director is hired by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund; additional
Dec 20: Senator Warner hosts breakfast fundraising.
Late 1979: Washington Post letter to the editor asking for
war resistors on the monument ?????
Star article by Scruggs???? Levi (150)
Jan 02: open office, begin direct mail campaign
Jan 16: First substantial contribution: $10,000 from Gruman Aircraft
**: H. Ross Perot makes the second substantial contribution, also
$10,000: VVMF memo
Feb 12: Commission of Fine Arts
22: Letter from Brown to Peterson indicating the Commission of Fine
Feb 22: Direct mail campaign begins: $34,000 pledged so far toward 2.5 million goal.
Mar 05: press conference to get House support"Vietnam Veterans Plan Memorial in Capital as Reconciliation Sign," by Richard Halloran, New York Times, 02/25/80: A15 (Course Documents) (New York Times)
Mar 12: HEARING
before the Subcommittee on Parks, Recreation, and Renewable Resources.
22: "A Vietnam Memorial," by Jan Scruggs, Washington Post,
03/22/80, A13 (Course
Apr 26: "The Making
Of a Monument; Moving Monument; Planning for the Vietnam Vet's
Apr 30: Senate approves legislation.
(late?) April: article by James J. Kilpatrick urging contributions96th Congress, 2nd Session. Senate. Calendar no. 709 Report 96-663. April 24th, 1980. Senate passes the joint resolution 119, with an amendment. SRP.663 X96-2:S.RP 663 (Course Documents)
May 08: "The Wounds of Vietnam," by James J. Kilpatrick, Washington Star, 05/08/80, A15
May 20: House approves
legislation: Congressional Record, House May 20th, 1980. Authorizing
is this memorial day stuff?"House Approves Bill to Establish a Memorial to Vietnam War Dead," New York Times, 05/22/80: A24 (Course Documents) (New York Times)
May 25: "I Wish
We Were More Troubled," by Tim O'Brien, Washington Post, 05/25/80,
May 25: "After Vietnam:
Voices Of A Wounded Generation," Washington Post, 05/25/80,
May 26: "Vietnam
Memorial: Another Symbol of Frustration for Vets," by Ward Sinclair,
Memorial Day: services at which Senator Mathias spoke, covered by papers
May 30: President Carter ceremony marking first Vietnam Veterans Week??
May 30: "Needless Obstacle," New Republic, 05/31/80, ??? (Course Documents)
May-June-July????: Spreiregan is hired as strategist
24: Mathias reception to celebrate House/Senate agreement, covered
Jun 26: "Moving
the Memorial," by Carlin Romano, Washington Post, 06/25/80: B8
28: "About Politics: Memorializing the Vietnam War Dead," by Francis
Jul 01: President Carter signs legislation.
The law: PL 96 - 297 (Course Documents)