DEFEND THE "WALL"™
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- timeless and sacred place of dignity, equality, serenity, reflection and healing -
We are addressing these issues to the families of those honored on the "Wall", fellow Vietnam Veterans and your respective families, and caring citizens.
Your commitment to honoring the sacrifice and preserving the Vietnam legacy elicits of you to know what is going on around the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVM). Time is critical and immediate action needs to be taken to protect this sacred place.
Two projects, the
proposed Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor Center (VVMVC) and the United States
Institute of Peace (USIP), will have significant adverse impacts on the
experience, dignity and serenity at the VVM, the "Wall".
Please read through the material provided at this website, research the links supplied, and share the information with others. We believe you will arrive at the same conclusions.
Please address your concerns to your United States Congressional representatives in both the House and Senate, as well as the National Capital Planning Commission, the National Park Service, the United States Commission of Fine Arts, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, and the United States Institute of Peace.
Veterans and Citizens action plan is below. Make your voice and service to our nation count. Speak up for those who no longer have a voice or a choice.
Please send a copy of all communications (sent and received) regarding these issues to Equal Honor For All (EHFA) at firstname.lastname@example.org or Equal Honor For All P.O. Box 32070 Cleveland, OH 44132-0070
Equal Honor For All (EHFA)
in the VVMVC process and project by Ray Saikus of the EHFA came about through
the National Trust For Historic Preservation (NTHP). The National
Coalition to Save Our Mall did not recruit Ray Saikus as claimed by the VVMF.
Ray Saikus was informed of the project by the NTHP, in particular Betsy
Merritt, because they knew Ray Saikus was a Vietnam Veteran and active in
the veterans community and had lost his best friend in Vietnam. The "Wall"
is very dear to Ray Saikus and to his best friend's family.
Ray Saikus had worked with the NTHP on other preservation projects defending the right of citizens to participate. It did not take any convincing to get him involved upon learning about the exclusionary legislation that was being promoted by the VVMF and being considered in Congress in the Spring of 2006, specifically the US Senate, it had already passed the U.S. House without any public hearings. It was a direct insult to those who gave their lives for our freedoms and are honored on the "Wall" as well as their families and those who had served during the Vietnam War and their respective families, and our fellow citizens.
The EHFA was born out of that experience, it is an organization committed to uniting all veterans and their families.
The goal of the Equal Honor For All organization is to leave a legacy about those who served our nation throughout its history in a place of "Equal Honor For All" and live up to the motto of the Vietnam Veterans "Never again will one generation of Veterans abandon another".
This vow EHFA will fulfill by establishing a National Military Honor and Service Museum where the nation and its citizens will honor and remember those who came before us going back to the Revolutionary War, our fellow Vietnam era brothers and sisters in arms, those who followed us. This special place will also allocate space for current and future generations of our nation's defenders to be honored and remembered.
For further detail of organization involvement visit EHFA.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor Center (VVMVC)
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) is the sponsor of the VVMVC. The enabling
legislation (Public Law 108-126 Nov. 17, 2003) for the VVMVC has many
troubling and devicive aspects for veterans of all eras. These include the
VVMVC being built underground and restricting any further visitor centers
on the National Mall for the remaining veterans memorials. This last
provision being totally contrary to the Vietnam Veterans motto "Never
again will one generation of Veterans abandon another", and
disenfranchising fellow veterans from other eras.
Another very disturbing action taken by the VVMF, in promoting the VVMVC, was when last year the VVMF tried to have a legislations (S. 2419 and H.R. 4882) passed. Once passed the law would have excluded all, the families of those honored on the "Wall", veterans and their families, and fellow citizens, from participating in how and where the VVMVC is developed, in direct violation of the VVMVC authorizing legislation.
US House had passed the bill (H.R. 4882) without
even a committee hearing allowing public input. Fortunately the US Senate, through its Sub-Committee on
National Parks, held a hearing on their version of the bill (S.
2419) on May 16, 2006 and did not allow the bill to become
law. The late Senator Craig Thomas was the Chairman over the Sub-Committee
at the time of those hearings, he and his fellow Senators were respectful of
the veterans and their fellow citizens.
Ray Saikus of EHFA had the pleasure and honor to testify at that US
Senate hearing, opposing the S.
2419 and H.R. 4882 legislations.
Lately, the National Park Service (NPS) has been trying to ram the VVMVC project through with total disregard for the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 process and scheduling meetings with little notice to discourage/prevent from participation the various consulting parties involved in the review, another action in direct violation of the VVMVC enabling legislation.. Ray Saikus of Equal Honor For All is participating as a consulting party on behalf of EHFA and as an individual.
The NPS has also ignored issues raised concerning the impact for generations to come on the VVM (dignity, interpretation and serenity at the "Wall"), the gouging of our National Mall (next to the Lincoln Memorial and the "Wall"), the safety and security of the VVMVC (visitors, staff, site, building structure and contents), the VVMVC design mimicking the "Wall", and the exhibits space and layout being totally restrictive (removing any ability to alter it in case the visitors experience and appeal is not realized as envisioned at this time).
Images available here of the proposed VVMVC design were provided to the NPS by the architectural firm contracted by the VVMF. In turn sent to all consulting parties, and are part of the public record. If you desire the complete VVMVC proposal booklet from the National Park Service (NPS), please petition a copy via a Freedon of Information Act (FOIA) request to Steve Lorenzetti, Acting Superintendent, Steve_Lorenzetti@nps.gov
Note relationship of locations for the USIP, VVMVC and the “Wall”
The following are issues of great concern:
A – Proposed to be built underground (30 feet) in an area susceptible to flooding from storm run-off, the flood plain under evaluation, and in an area next to a designated flood prevention site that requires sandbagging (across Constitution at 23rd Street) . The Potomac River is susceptible to the tide surges from the Atlantic and the storm surges. Storms are more frequent and more severe than any time in the history of the Washington D.C. area.
B - Washington sewers backed-up as recent as the storm in June of 2006, flooding a portion of Constitution Avenue and those investigating it could not readily identify the specific reason.
C - The Lincoln Memorial’s below ground level had flooding.
D – Three VVMVC design options presented on September 12th , 2007 at the National Park Service (NPS) Section 106 meeting by the architects selected by the VVMF had the following shortcomings:
(Please note that on September 12th the design renderings were requested in electronic form so they could be shared with our fellow veterans and to date none have been provided - the images provided had to be scanned from a printed booklet)
1 - The slopped v-shaped 14 feet deep entrance design would mimic the "Wall", detract from our memorial, and being so close will negatively affect the flow of visitors to the “Wall” and will affect their experience there.
2 - Single entrance and exit, no evidence of suitable emergency exits for the potential number of visitors, a facility susceptible to sabotage due to high density of visitors based on the popularity of the “Wall”. Handicap access and especially emergency exit considerations are not clear.
3 - An open courtyard 31 feet deep, with a (tunnel weave-cattle herding) exhibit area leading down to the courtyard, allowing no flexibility for varying the exhibit as time and needs might dictate – no allowance for misjudgment of appeal to families of those honored on our “Wall”, Vietnam Veterans and families, and visitors.
4 - Below ground level 42" high rails placed in a ditch
surrounding the top of the courtyard and at all the elevated areas around the
entrance, would remind many of the Punji Stick traps in Vietnam.
5 - Looking up from the courtyard, it will give a reminder of the POW in-ground cages, especially with the guard rails above them, or from above as punji stick traps.
6 - During storms, the sloped area around the entrance will channel massive water flows towards the entrance, endangering the staff, visitors, and our eras and our “Wall’s” priceless artifacts. Notice that the entrance is below the water table in good weather.
7 - During storms, the open courtyard will be susceptible to massive inundation due to the inadequacy of the storm systems in Washington DC as demonstrated in the 2006 storms, again endangering the staff, visitors, and our eras and our “Wall’s” priceless artifacts,
8 - During the winter there will be danger from ice formation that would form around the perimeter of the courtyard and all elevated areas because of the ditch design for the guardrails. Ice braking off and falling on visitors.
9- The exhibit space will move people in a cattle herding tunnel corridor manner.
10 - Courtyard takes up much needed exhibit space.
11 - Security and safety of the site has not been properly evaluated, the VVMVC could be a target of sabotage just as our “Wall” has been recently. The design does not address those issues.
12 – An additional feature of other eras renderings/pictures pays token tribute to other eras and not to the same significance as can be achieved in the “Equal Honor For All” proposal for a National Military Honor and Service Museum.
E - The Five Hundred
Year Flood Plain designation for the area allows for at least a foot of
flooding anytime. If the topography is correct, the whole area of the
VVMVC could be underwater.
F - There is indication that a more recent flood analysis is available that places the VVMVC within the 100 year flood plain but a copy could not be obtained at this time.
United States Institute of Peace (USIP)
Another issue regarding the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the proximity and overpowering size of the USIP, it is in the line of sight of the "Wall". Files attached with the USIP project. Daylight views from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial are also attached, before and after. On overcast days and at night it will be more imposing, like an alien space ship coming in for a landing, especially to those at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (the "Wall").
If the VVMVC is going to be built on the proposed site, this building will have even a more ominous presence over the underground site that supposed to honor those who gave their lives for our country.
Refer to image at the beginning of this page for the “before” conditions, note foliage still on trees
The VVMF, represents itself as the keeper of the “Wall”. From information available on the USIP proceeding the VVMF has not participated in representing the interest of the VVM and evaluating the impact of the USIP on the experience at the “Wall”.
We have to be concerned regarding the presence of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in such close proximity to our Memorials in Washington. It seems that the USIP might be exploiting those who we honor on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial ("Wall") and the other Veterans Memorials (Korea and WWII) for purposes other than promoting peace. The USIP institution's name, location logic, and mission statement is not necessarily supported or clear because of the background and composition of its leadership, as well as its reported activities. Investigate it yourself independently and see the information below.
Some very relevant information for Vietnam Veterans is: "The president of the institute since 1993 is Richard H. Solomon, formerly a senior staff member of the National Security Council. Solomon made his bones working for the RAND Corporation, the think tank that designed the Vietnam War"- this information comes from the Article "Peace Spooks".
For further information and to draw your own conclusions please visit and read the article titled "Peace Spooks" at http://www.bohemian.com/bohemian/07.04.07/byrne-0727.html
Due to the USIP's grandiose building and primarily because of the composition of the USIP board and leadership with their respective backgrounds and missions, it will be a primary target for terrorists. Because of its close proximity, the USIP will have grave safety implications for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVM) and the proposed Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor Center (VVMVC) . VVM and VVMVC could become backup targets for the terrorist focusing on the USIP.
There are additional implications regarding the USIP's proximity to the VVM and the VVMVC. The concern raised is that based on the article above there is potential for protests against the USIP, with the VVM and proposed VVMVC sites becoming rallying points for protesters. The USIP presence would directly affect the ambience required to allow for reflection and the opportunity to pay one's respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Peace will be robbed from the Vietnam veterans, their families and especially the families of those honored at the VVM. It will also affect the ambience of the Korean and WWII Memorials.
The USIP (www.usip.org), an 8+ story building, will be a great overpowering detraction from the experience at our “Wall”, in all weather conditions, daytime and nighttime.
Daylight views from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial show the detraction that the USIP will be, images can be provided via e-mail upon request. At night it will be more imposing, like an alien space ship coming in for a landing, especially to those at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (the "Wall").
Spread the word by sending notices to your fellow veterans and citizens and link them to the EHFA (www.equalhonor.org) website. Encourage them to invest the time and participate, to ask and have the concerns addressed by Congress. The Congressional legislations created most of these problems because the details of this project were not brought forth and properly evaluated as to the impact on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial .
Become well informed on the issues and the parties participating. Visit the National Trust For Historic Preservation (www.nthp.org), National Coalition to Save Our Mall (www.savethemall.org) and (www.nationalmall.net), Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (www.vvmf.org), the United States Institute of Peace (www.usip.org).
Express your opposition to the USIP overwhelming and controversial presence by our memorials. Communicate your objections to the VVMVC location and design and its detraction from the intended purpose for the "Wall". Call and write your Congressmen/Congresswomen (www.house.gov), Senators (www.senate.gov), objecting to the USIP presence at this site and the VVMVC location and design. Ask for joint Congressional oversight hearing. Also call and write the National Park Service (www.nps.gov), the National Capital Planning Commission (www.ncpc.gov), the United States Commission of Fine Arts (www.cfa.gov). It is not too late if you act now.
It is time to speak up and let our voices be heard loud and clear across our nation and especially in Washington, D.C.