Veterans photo project: Close the gaps

Virtual Wall Of FacesOver the past four years, community newspapers from across the country have joined the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s Faces Project.

VVMF is the organization that built and maintains the Vietnam Veterans WALL in Washington D.C. Several years ago, the VVFM started a project known as the “FACES PROJECT.” VVVFM is attempting to obtain a photo of every service member killed in action and listed on the WALL.

The photos that are collected are displayed on the VVFM website by date of birth. The photos will also be digitally displayed in the new VVMF Education Center that will be constructed near the WALL in Washington, D.C. Congress has approved the construction of the new Center.

Many of the Department of Defense records along with veterans’ photos (6 million) were destroyed in a fire in St. Louis in 1973. Over the past four years, community newspapers as well as many journalism schools, have joined the VVMF Faces Project in search of the missing photos. Many state newspaper associations (starting with Wisconsin’s) have helped to coordinate the effort with their member newspapers with amazing success.

“Newspapers have the unique ability to find photos of missing Vietnam veterans that were killed in action,” said Andrew Johnson, a Wisconsin publisher who heads up the veterans’-photo project. “Newspapers are on the ground in the communities where are heroes lived.”

Today, 25 states have located all photos, while 4,886 photos are missing from various states across the country. Please see if your community newspaper can help close the gap. To view the missing photos from California, visit the VVMF website.