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Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

Vietnam War - Vietnam Memorial Wall - Washington, D. C. at Night

American Citizens    American Veterans    Vietnam War Veterans

Gibbons Statement on Introduction of 

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor Center Legislation

Center Will Educate Future Generations About Patriotism and Sacrifice 

Washington, DC An Air Force combat pilot in the Vietnam War, U.S. Congressman Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.) today released the following statement regarding the introduction of legislation by House Resources Chairman Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) to provide for the construction of a visitor center at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  Gibbons is an original cosponsor of the bill.

As a veteran of the Vietnam War, I feel a special kinship to the soldiers who fought valiantly, many of whom lost their lives in service to our nation. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor Center will stand as a tribute to these heroes to their lives, families, and legacy.  The sacrifices made by the soldiers and their families during the Vietnam War must never be forgotten. The Visitor Center will give every American generation the opportunity to gain a better understanding and greater respect for the sacrifices our soldiers made during this war.

Now as our servicemen and women are engaged in a war against a brutal tyrant and an oppressive regime in Iraq, there is no better time to recognize the efforts and sacrifices of our veterans-- past and present.

Annually, more than 4.4 million people visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, dedicated in 1982.  The proposed visitors center would allow these visitors to learn more about the memorial, as well as encourage young people to gain insight into the Vietnam War in America's history.  The visitors center will also offer young people the opportunity to learn the lessons of the Vietnam War and develop a better understanding of character, service, sacrifice, and patriotism.

As proposed, the new visitor center would facilitate self-guided tours for small groups of students and tourists. It would serve as a facility to collect remembrances of individuals' names inscribed on the memorial, creating a unique historical record for future generations. One planned exhibit would display photographs of the over 65,000 items left at the wall since its construction.  Importantly, the visitor's center would be built at no cost to American taxpayers. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 1980 to build the Memorial, would provide the funds for the center.

--Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Media Release Below--

For more information: Alan Greilsamer, (202) 393-0090 ext. 19

Bill Aimed at Educating Americas Youth about Patriotism, Service and Sacrifice; 
Supported by Bush Administration, Veterans Organizations and Education Community

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 27, 2003 Exactly 21 years since the groundbreaking of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, House Resources Chairman Richard Pombo (D-CA) last night introduced bi-partisan legislation providing for construction of a visitor center at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., announced Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund founder and president Jan C. Scruggs.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is honored to have Congressman Pombo lead the efforts to pass legislation providing for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor Center in the 108th Congress, Scruggs said. He is a true American patriot and understands the need for a facility at The Wall that will educate thousands of young people most who are younger than the Memorial itself each day. We applaud Congressman Pombos efforts to teach our nations students about honor, service and sacrifice at The Wall.

On March 26, 1982, 100 Vietnam veterans in unison turned the earth on the National Mall breaking ground for The Wall in Washington, D.C. The black granite Memorial, inscribed with the names of those who were killed or remain missing in action, was dedicated on November 13, 1982 and has since become an international symbol of healing.

Chairman Pombo, a six-term Congressman representing Californias 11th District, chairs the House Resources Committee, which oversees the National Mall and the National Park Service. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor Center Act (H.R. 1442) is co-sponsored by Resources Vice Chairman Jim Gibbons (R-NV) and Ranking Member Nick Rahall (D-WV) along with Congressman John Murtha (D-PA). Congressmen Gibbons and Murtha are Vietnam veterans.

Chairman Pombo Introduce Vietnam Visitor Center Act I am pleased that we can work in a bi-partisan manner on this important issue, Chairman Pombo said. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial should not be a political issue. At this crucial time in our nation's history, it is important that we treat our veterans with the respect and dignity they deserve. Improving the Memorial is one small step to repaying a debt that can never be fully repaid.

Added Resources Committee Vice Chairman Jim Gibbons (R-NV): As a veteran of the Vietnam War myself, I feel a special kinship to the soldiers who fought valiantly, many of whom lost their lives in service to our nation. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor Center will stand as a tribute to these heroes to their lives, families, and legacy.  The sacrifices made by the soldiers and their families during the Vietnam War must never be forgotten. The Visitor Center will give every American generation the opportunity to gain a better understanding and greater respect for the sacrifices our soldiers made during this war.

Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV) said: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor Center will be a wonderful way to further educate school children and the American public as a whole about the tremendous sacrifices made by the men and women whose names are engraved on the Memorial. Just as our soldiers are today fighting for freedom and democracy, the soldiers who served during the Vietnam War answered their nation's call to duty and, as a country, we mustnt forget, or take for granted, their selfless contribution.

Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE), a Vietnam combat veteran, will introduce similar legislation in the Senate in the next few weeks. Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and John McCain (R-AZ), also Vietnam combat veterans, will join Senator Hagel as co-sponsors.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor Center will serve as an educational venue to provide a brief overview of the Memorial and all who served with the U.S. Armed Forces in Vietnam specifically the more than 58,000 who made the ultimate sacrifice.  It will include interactive displays featuring photographs of those who were killed or remain missing as well as some of the more than 60,000 items left at The Wall. The facility will be about 10,000 sq. feet and located within the Memorials existing 2 acre site.

The Memorial Fund will be responsible for raising money to build the Visitor Center, which will cost an estimated $10 million and take about three years to complete. Between 1980-1982, the Memorial Fund raised $8.4 million to build The Wall from contributions from individuals, veterans organizations, foundations and corporations.

The Bush Administration supports the Visitor Center legislation as well as former Presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford. It also has the backing of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Gold Star Mothers, Blue Star Mothers of America, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America as well as other prominent Americans, educators and the general public.

Senator Hagel and Congressman Murtha originally introduced legislation in the Senate and the House of Representatives in September 2000 during the 106th Congress. It was again introduced in February 2001 during the 107th Congress, garnering the support of more than 65 Senators and nearly 200 Members in the U.S. House of Representatives. However, disagreements over language in last sessions Senate bill prevented passage.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the most visited Memorial in the nations capital with more than four million visitors each year. It is dedicated to all who served with U.S. Armed Forces in the Vietnam War and its black granite panels are inscribed with the names of the 58,229 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Established in 1979, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is the non-profit organization authorized by Congress to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Today, through a series of educational outreach programs, the organization works to preserve the legacy of The Wall, to promote healing and to educate about the impact of the Vietnam War.


U.S. Senate Version of Visitors Center

Congressman Jim Gibbons


United States Congressman Jim Gibbons was first elected to represent Nevadas 2nd District in the House of Representatives in 1996. Born in Sparks, Nevada on December 16, 1944, Jim earned a B.S. in Geology and later an M.S. in Mining/Geology from the University of Nevada at Reno. He earned his J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law and completed his post-graduate work at the University of Southern California.

In the 108th Congress, Gibbons serves on four committees: The House Resources Committee (as Vice-Chairman), the Armed Services Committee, the Select Committee on Homeland Security, and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He serves as Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism and as Chairman of the Intelligence Subcommittee on Human Intelligence, Analysis and Counterintelligence.

Congressman Gibbons committee assignments place him in a prime position to represent the varied interests of Nevadans, including water, mining, ranching and grazing issues, as well as the future of the nations premier military training bases, Fallon NAS and Nellis AFB. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Gibbons has also taken a leading role in securing our homeland by introducing legislation in October 2001 which would become the basis for the Homeland Security Act that created the Department of Homeland Security last year.

Gibbons also serves on several Congressional Caucuses. He is the founding member and Co-Chairman of the Congressional Mining Caucus and Vice-Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmens Caucus. He also is an active member on: the House Gaming Caucus, the Western Caucus, Rural Caucus, Air Power Caucus, Air Force Caucus, Depot Caucus, National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus, Travel and Tourism Caucus, Wine Caucus, Caucus on Community Health Centers, Cancer Caucus, the Caucus to Fight and Control Methamphetamine, and the Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus. Finally, Gibbons also serves on the Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition, Congressional Alzheimers Task Force, the Entertainment Task Force, and the Rural Health Care Coalition.

Prior to coming to Congress, Gibbons gained a distinguished military background. A former combat pilot and decorated veteran of both the Vietnam and Persian Gulf Wars, Congressman Gibbons served in the United States Air Force from 1967 to 1971 and graduated from the USAF Air Command and Staff College as well as the Air War College. Attaining the rank of Colonel, Gibbons joined the Nevada Air Guard in 1975, and served as the group's Vice Commander from 1990 through 1996.

Throughout his military service, Gibbons received 19 service medals, including the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, Aerial Achievement Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal with One Oak Leaf Cluster. He was also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his extraordinary achievement while participating as an RF-4C Flight Leader in the Gulf War. On this mission, Gibbons flew his unarmed aircraft on a vital reconnaissance mission to acquire politically sensitive imagery of enemy targets in Kuwait.

Mr. Gibbons was also a commercial pilot for Western Airlines where he was employed from 1979 to 1987, and Delta Airlines where he worked from 1987 to 1997. His extensive resume also includes working as a hydrologist for the Federal Water Master, a mining and exploration geologist, a mining and water rights attorney in Nevada, and a state legislator.

Mr. Gibbons was first elected to the Nevada State Assembly in 1988 and served three terms there. In his first year, he was named "Outstanding Freshman Legislator." Five days after his re-election to office in 1990, Mr. Gibbons received the call to report for active combat duty in the Persian Gulf War. Mr. Gibbons returned to the U.S. in April of 1991 to a thunderous welcome from the people of Nevada and soon resumed his fight for his constituents in the State Legislature. In 1993, Mr. Gibbons was elected Republican Whip in the State Assembly, and in 1994, he was the Republican nominee for Governor. In 1998, his wife, Dawn Gibbons ran successfully for the Nevada State Assembly.

In 1994, Gibbons authored the Gibbons Tax Restraint Initiative. As a private citizen, he collected 85,000 signatures from residents across Nevada to place a ballot question before the voters to amend the State Constitution. An overwhelming majority of Nevada voters (78% in 1994 and 71% in 1996) supported the amendment to the Nevada Constitution which requires a 2/3 super-majority to increase any state tax.

Congressman Gibbons resides in Reno with his wife, Dawn. They have three children, Christopher, Jennifer, and Jimmy, and one grandchild.