Vietnam Vet Who Raised All Funding for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial from Private Funds
Vietnam veteran Jan Scruggs started and directed the enormously successful effort to create a national memorial to those Americans who served their country in the Vietnam War. Scruggs, who grew up in Bowie, Maryland, went to Vietnam with the U.S. Army’s l99th Light Infantry Brigade after graduating from high school. Wounded and decorated for gallantry in the War, he returned home to obtain a Master’s Degree in counseling from American University in Washington, D.C. The idea for a memorial inscribed with the names of those who fell in Vietnam came while doing graduate school research on veterans of the War.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Starting with $2,800 of his own money, Scruggs initiated the memorial project in 1979 after Congress failed to act. Despite controversy and numerous setbacks the endeavor raised more than $8 million dollars — all of it from private sources. Many political hurdles later, the Memorial was finally dedicated in November 1982.
Books and Media Appearances
Since then, Scruggs has appeared on numerous national and local television and radio programs including 60 Minutes, Nightline and Good Morning America. To Heal A Nation, his book about the Memorial, was made into an NBC Movie of the Week broadcast in May 1988. He has also written articles on a wide variety of topics for the Washington Post and other distinguished publications.
Scruggs is currently a Washington attorney & motivational speaker whose business audiences include AT&T, IBM and the prestigious Million Dollar Roundtable. He speaks to college students about the Vietnam War and the Memorial, too. He also serves as Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. In October 1991, this group dedicated a national memorial in Washington, D.C., honoring police officers who have given their lives.