After visiting that memorial for the first time eight years ago, Hawaii resident Janna Hoehn has been on a mission to help put a face with each name.
“These young men gave their lives for our country,” Hoehn said. “They deserve to be honored and never forgotten.”
What’s the background?
When Hoehn and her husband visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, she chose one name from the wall, Gregory John Crossman, and decided to try to learn more about him. She searched for months without any luck, until her cousin was able to find a college photo of Crossman.
Two years later, Hoehn saw a story in her local news about “Faces Never Forgotten,” a campaign that is seeking photos of every veteran listed on the Vietnam Wall. Eager to help, she immediately sent in the photo she had of Crossman.
Five days later, she received a response from the president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, asking her to help find photos for the 42 fallen Vietnam veterans in her home county. She happily agreed.
Since then, she has not only found those photos, but she’s also collected more than 6,000 others from a number of different states. Several states have been completed, and others are currently in the works, including Tennessee and Virginia.
Hoehn said Tennessee lost 1,295 soldiers in the Vietnam War. Sullivan County, for example, lost 37 soldiers, and only three photos are still needed. Wise County is also nearly complete, while Hawkins and Scott counties have already been completed.
Which local photos are still needed?
From Sullivan County:
• Fred L. Richardson of Bristol (1946-1966)
• Dennis W. Smith of Bristol (1947-1970)
• Stephen J. Torbett of Piney Flats (1943-1969)
From Wise County:
• Douglas E. Fulcher of Tacoma (1947-1968)
• Rodney D. Pickett of Coeburn (1947-1967)
• Paul J. Seymore of Big Stone Gap (1933-1969)
• Don G. Stallard of Norton (1942-1965)
Where and when can you send photos?
Hoehn said there is no deadline for submitting photos, but the sooner the better.
“Time is of the essence,” Hoehn said. “Many of the fallen's parents and some of their siblings have passed away.”
Photos, or information that might be helpful with locating the photos, can be sent to Hoehn via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where will the photos be displayed?
Hoehn said more than 53,000 of the 58,315 needed photos have already been collected. Once the rest are found, they will be displayed in a new museum, called the Education Center, adjacent to the current Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
“We are still raising money to build the Education Center at the Wall,” Hoehn said. “We are hoping to break ground within the next couple of years; once we break ground, it will be two years to completion. The photos will all be available on the Wall of Faces website. When the museum opens, the photos will be displayed there, as well.”
To view the Wall of Faces online, visit www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces. To learn more about the project or to make a donation, visit www.vvmf.org/thewall.