For the first time ever, Vietnam War veterans will include the names of victims from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
WASHINGTON — On this Memorial Day weekend, veterans of the Vietnam War are not only honoring the victims of that battle, they’re including the fallen from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well.
On Saturday, a ceremony was held at the Wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where the names of nearly 7,000 Americans who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were read.
“This is a day when America honors the fallen from the most recent wars,” says Jan Scruggs, founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. “This is their day. The people who gave their lives since 9/11 are really special and this is their day.”
It’s the first time in the United States that the entire list of names of Americans who died in Iraq and Afghanistan were read. “The Vietnam veterans were the first ones to want to do this,” says John Reid, a spokesman with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
Barb Benard, national president of American Gold Star Mothers, lost her son, Brent Adams, in Iraq when an RPG hit his convoy.
“We know there possibly won’t be anything built for our sons and daughters for years,” Bernard says. “And it’s incredible that they are including our sons and daughters today.”