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EDITORIAL

A Presidential Medal for Jan Scruggs

September 2021
1min read

Jan Scruggs had the idea to create a memorial to honor 12 friends he lost in Vietnam, and the other 58,320 men and women who gave their lives. A petition has been started to ask Pres. Biden to award the Presidential Medal to Scruggs.

American Heritage has launched a petition campaign to ask President Biden to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Jan Scruggs for founding the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, and to celebrate all the Wall stands for in honoring those who served.

Please add your name to the petition if you appreciate the Vietnam Wall, and the men and women who answered the nation's call and sacrificed so much.

You can read more about Jan and the dramatic story of how the Wall was built in "'To Heal a Nation': the Vietnam Wall" by James Reston, Jr. in the new issue of American Heritage Magazine.

More than 2.1 million men and women served in the Vietnam War, many of them draftees who were torn from homes and communities and sent to a far off struggle. But when they returned, these soldiers were too often scorned and humiliated.

Today, thanks in large part to the Vietnam Memorial, their military service is acknowledged and appreciated. Over 3 millions people a year visit the Wall to honor and remember the 58,320 men and women whose names are inscribed on its black granite face.

Jan Scruggs had the original idea for the Wall and led the long, difficult campaign to build it. A wounded veteran himself, Jan had seen 12 of his buddies killed in the War and was determined to find a way to honor them and the others who gave their lives in service to our country.

Today, Jan is beloved across the entire political spectrum, and his name is synonymous with the Wall. "Without Jan, those of us who went through the ordeal of the Vietnam conflict would have no place to heal," says John Weber, who was wounded near Chu Lai by shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade.

In a time when the U.S. is again divided, the Wall can serve as a potent reminder that our nation can heal from the challenges that sometimes divide us.

Please add you name to the petition to President Biden.

This is something we can all agree on!

Edwin S. Grosvenor, Editor-in-Chief 

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