On November 17, 2003, President George W. Bush signed Public Law 108-126 authorizing VVMF to build the Education Center at The Wall. The site selected for the Education Center is in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial and adjacent to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

The Education Center at The Wall will add a new educational and honorific component to one of the nation’s most powerful and moving memorials. It will put a face to every one of the 58,300 names listed on the Wall and help ensure that the Memorial will continue to speak about the importance of honoring our veterans and remembering those who died serving their country.

The Center will tell the story of how the Vietnam Memorial Wall became a site of individual grief and public mourning in the years following a painful and divisive war. It will include voices of veterans who returned to tell us their stories and preserve memories of those who did not. It will also share some of the hundreds of thousands of objects left at the Wall by families, military comrades, and others over more than three decades.  Individually, these often heartrending offerings speak of love, loss, and remembrance.

Collectively, they speak to the healing and reconciliation of a nation. Ranging from very personal objects left by those close to the fallen to more recent offerings by school groups and civic organizations, they express a continuing need to recognize sacrifice, to make amends, to properly pay tribute. They also trace the ways America manifests its grief.

The Center will honor those who served by educating future generations about the Vietnam War and the path along which the country found its way to welcome home and acknowledge this generation of veterans. It is, in many ways, a place where the Vietnam generation can pass on lessons learned. In this spirit, the Center will also provide space where people can recognize those who gave their lives in more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan until a memorial is built in their honor.

Dedicated to all who have served their country in battle, from Bunker Hill to Afghanistan, the Education Center at The Wall will be a place for Americans to continue to remember those who were lost in Vietnam and to acknowledge the enduring value of expressing citizenship through service.