FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Veterans National Memorial Shrine and Museum is seeking funds to erect a permanent Vietnam Memorial on its O’Day Road grounds. The organization already purchased the 360-foot replica of the Vietnam Wall, but much more work needs to be done to get it erected.
“I’ve got several friends of mine that were involved in that war and did not make it back… you cannot let these names be forgotten, because if you do, they are no longer going to remembered,” says Pat Frazier, with the organization.
To keep their names remembered, the ones that gave the ultimate sacrifice in the Vietnam War, a replica memorial will have a permanent home at the Veterans National Memorial Shrine and Museum in Fort Wayne.
“Right now, we’re raising funds. Because we ordered the wall, we got the wall, we paid for the wall, and now we have a lot of other accouterments that we have to put in,” says Eric Johnson, with the organization.
The memorial wall itself will be 360-feet long where trees currently sit at the Shrine and Museum.
The organization needs to add a walkway, bathrooms, parking lots and more. The total amount to be raised is $1.75 million.
Johnson believes when finished, the memorial will turn into a destination spot for the city.
“This is going to have a huge economic impact on lodging, restaurants, whether they’re going to be attending our sports venues, the Komets, the TinCaps, all kinds of things. So, it will bring a lot of people to Fort Wayne,” says Johnson.
It will also give people the chance to see the memorial, that might not be able to make it to the original in Washington, D.C.
“You’ll get the same feeling on that as you would if you went to Washington, D.C. I alone can vouch for that. I can touch those names on the wall, and it still hurts,” says Frazier.
You can make donations online by clicking here.
Mail-in donations can be sent to VNMS&M, P.O. Box 26, Arcola, IN 46804.