What is In Memory?
Since the Vietnam War ended, thousands of Vietnam veterans have suffered due to Agent Orange exposure, PTSD and other illnesses as a result of their service. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) believes all those who served in Vietnam should be honored and remembered for their service. The In Memory program enables the families and friends of those who came home and later died the opportunity to have them be forever memorialized.
The plaque on the grounds of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial site in Washington, D.C. that honors these veterans was dedicated in 2004 and reads: In Memory of the men and women who served in the Vietnam War and later died as a result of their service. We honor and remember their sacrifice.
In Memory was created in 1993 by the group – Friends of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. VVMF began managing the program and hosting the ceremony in 1999. More than 5,600 veterans have been added to the In Memory Honor Roll since the program began. To see all the honorees, please visit the In Memory Honor Roll.
What is Included?
Having a veteran honored includes:
• An invitation to In Memory Weekend in Washington, D.C., which includes a touching ceremony on the site of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial where each honoree’s name is read aloud. If you are present, you may read the name. Each applicant also receives a printed personal tribute certificate with their veteran’s photo(s).
• As part of the In Memory Honor Roll, an online personal remembrance page is created for each honoree with their photo and biographical information. Family members can share the page and leave remembrances about their loved one.
• VVMF’s mobile exhibit, The Wall That Heals, includes the digital photos of all In Memory honorees from the state where the exhibit is on display.
• An invitation to join our Facebook group: In Memory – Families of Vietnam Veterans lost to Agent Orange and PTSD. The group gives family and friends an online community to connect and share their stories.Join the In Memory Facebook Group
How do I Apply?
WE ARE ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2023 PROGRAM.
To have a loved one considered for the 2023 In Memory program, you must submit your application to VVMF by March 29, 2023.
- Completed application form
- Copy of military documents that establish service in the Vietnam war zone (e.g. DD-214, service records, Vietnam Service Medal, or other documents/awards)
- Copy of death certificate or other formal notification of death
- Two clear photographs of the honoree (we recommend one photo from the Vietnam era and one photo that is more recent)
Example proof of service in Vietnam can be established showing receipt of Vietnam Service Medal (VSM), Vietnam Campaign Medal (VCM) and/or Vietnam Service Ribbon on a DD-214 or other military document.
If you do not have a copy of military documents, military service records can be obtained from the National Archives Veterans Service Records. Visit www.archives.gov and click on “Veterans’ Service Records.”
If you have a question about the program or are experiencing difficulty with the application, contact VVMF at (202) 393-0090 or via e-mail at [email protected].
What are people saying about the In Memory Program?
To hear one In Memory family tell their story of loss and healing listen to episode #16: Song for the Unsung of VVMF’s podcast, Echoes of The Vietnam War, here.
“I feel at peace now. My brother, and all of the other Honorees, have finally gotten the recognition they so deserved. Thank You for the Bottom of My Heart.” Diana De Koning-Kordick, sister of 2020 honoree Jerald Wayne De Koning
“It was a weekend that our family shared together and I am amazed at the bonding that took place. It almost felt spiritual. We are all still processing all the emotions that we felt and it was WONDERFUL . I did not really know what to expect, but it exceeded anything I could have expected.” Mary Hotopp, wife of 2018 honoree Arthur Hotopp
“The whole experience was very meaningful to me and my family. We really felt like it gave the Vietnam veterans some of the recognition they never received when they came home. My husband and children never had the opportunity to meet my Dad and this weekend gave me the chance to really share him with them.” Judy Wissel, daughter of 2018 honoree George Land
“Thank you for EVERYTHING you as an organization do to remember and honor these men and women who unknowingly brought a piece of Vietnam home with them. The honor and respect shown goes a long way toward removing memories of the horrible treatment they received when they came home originally.” Virginia Pearson, wife of 2020 honoree Bruce Richard Pearson Sr.
The Honor Roll
While their names are not on The Wall, they are never forgotten. On the Vietnam Veterans Memorial site in Washington, D.C., a special plaque reads: “In Memory of the men and women who served in the Vietnam War and later died as a result of their service. We honor and remember their sacrifice.”
The In Memory Honor Roll recognizes more than 5,600 Vietnam veterans who have been inducted into the In Memory program.Visit the Honor Roll
Watch the In Memory Video
Since the Vietnam War ended, thousands of Vietnam veterans have suffered due to Agent Orange exposure, PTSD and other illnesses as a result of their service. Here’s how we are remembering them.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s (VVMF) In Memory program honors Vietnam veterans who returned home from Vietnam and later died.
What is included in the In Memory program?
- An invitation to In Memory weekend in Washington, D.C. – which includes a touching ceremony.
- An online personal remembrance page on the In Memory Honor Roll
- Inclusion in a digital display of photos of In Memory honorees at The Wall That Heals
- A printed personal tribute certificate, yearbook, and In Memory lapel pin
- An invitation to join our Facebook group: In Memory – Families of Vietnam Veterans lost to Agent Orange and PTSD
How do I apply to honor my loved one through In Memory?
Will my honoree’s name be added to The Wall in Washington, D.C.?
No, the name would not be inscribed on The Wall. The In Memory program is to honor those who returned home from Vietnam and later died – which would not meet the Department of Defense guidelines set for inclusion on The Wall. For more information on DoD’s guidelines go here.
Is there any representation of In Memory at the Memorial site?
Yes, the In Memory plaque was dedicated in 2004 and is located near the Three Servicemen statue adjacent to the Memorial. The plaque reads: In Memory of the men and women who served in the Vietnam War and later died as a result of their service. We honor and remember their sacrifice.
Why can’t I find my honoree on The Wall of Faces?
The Wall of Faces displays the names and information of those who are inscribed on The Wall. In Memory honorees have their online personal remembrance page on the In Memory Honor Roll.
When will the honoree be added to the online In Memory Honor Roll?
The online personal Honor Roll pages are made for each honoree once they are accepted into the program.
When submitting documents online or by email please try to submit clear, legible documents and photographs.
How do I know if my friend or loved one has already been inducted into the In Memory program?
You can search the In Memory Honor Roll.
When is the application deadline?
The application and required documents are due by March 29, 2023 to be eligible for the 2023 program.
How do I get a copy of a DD214 or other military document?
You can request military documents from: http://www.archives.gov/veterans/
Does the death certificate need to specifically show the veteran’s cause of death was connected to their service?
We understand that the death certificate does not always state the death was caused by Agent Orange exposure, PTSD or other illnesses related to their service. We do not require proof of service connection to honor a Vietnam veteran through the In Memory program.
Can I submit a biography?
Yes, we encourage you to submit a biography to further honor your loved one. Biographies are preferably typed and no more than 300 words. If the biography is longer than 300 words, VVMF may edit for length. The biography may include any information which you are comfortable with sharing.
John Smith was born on March 1, 1947 in Springfield, Wisconsin. He graduated from High School in 1965. John joined the Army in 1967 and did two tours in Vietnam serving as a flight engineer. On October 1, 1970 he married Jane Doe and they went on to have four children and three granddaughters. After leaving the Army, John worked as a maintenance mechanic for more than 30 years. He was a volunteer firefighter and an avid volunteer with the local VVA chapter and VFW post. He was incredibly proud of his service to his country. He also liked fixing cars and enjoyed carpentry. He had a wonderful sense of humor and was passionate in teaching his children and grandchildren new things. He enjoyed traveling whenever he could with trips to Mexico, Ireland, France, Texas, California, Florida, and Arizona. There was always room for golfing with friends and his wife. As any Wisconsinite, he was a Cheesehead who enjoyed cheering on his Packers. He passed away on October 7, 2010 due to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma caused by exposure to Agent Orange during his service in Vietnam. John lived life to the fullest until the end and will be greatly missed by his friends and family.
What will the biography be used for?
The biography will be a part of the honoree’s online personal remembrance page on the In Memory Honor Roll.
Does “hometown” and “home state” refer to where the honoree was born or where he lived?
The home town/state should be the area where the honoree had the greatest connection. This could be where they were born or spent their formative years or where they retired – it’s up to you. The home state you list is important because that is the only state where your honoree’s name and photo will be on display when The Wall That Heals is on exhibit.
What kind of photographs do you require?
We do not require photographs to honor your loved one through In Memory, but suggest you send in two clear, different photos. The photographs can be whatever you would like. For example: service photos, prom photos, wedding photos or photos from a family trip. We recommend that one photograph be from when the honoree was serving in the military and one that is more recent. Photos will be displayed as a part of the honoree’s online personal remembrance page on the In Memory Honor Roll, on the printed personal tribute certificate and in the In Memory yearbook.
How do I submit my photos?
If you are uploading photos to the online application, please note the following:
- The best format to submit a photo is as a JPEG file.
- Please scan your photo at a high resolution, this will look best when printed.
If you are mailing in hard copies please send clear photographs – preferably not a photocopy. Please do not send originals as we cannot return them.
What is the In Memory yearbook?
The yearbook has the full list (including photos) of all of the honorees for the current year. You can view the 2022 yearbook here. The yearbook is given out at the ceremony and additional yearbooks can be purchased after the ceremony online. If you are unable to attend the ceremony one yearbook will be mailed to the applicant after the ceremony.
Please take a few minutes and watch the induction ceremony video from 2022: 2022 In Memory Induction Ceremony.
When is the 2023 Induction Ceremony?
The 2023 In Memory Induction Ceremony will be Saturday, June 17, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.
Will VVMF pay for or arrange my travel to Washington, D.C.?
While we hope all family members can attend, VVMF cannot pay for or arrange your travel to Washington, D.C. We do provide bus transportation from the host hotel to and from the ceremony. Discounted hotel rate information will be available closer to the ceremony.
How is the In Memory program/ceremony funded?
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization that is supported by private donors, like you. Your donations make it possible for us to maintain this program so critical to our efforts to promote healing and education, to hold the ceremony annually and to continue honoring many more veterans’ service and sacrifice. Please consider making a donation and support the In Memory program.
How long is the induction ceremony?
The In Memory Induction Ceremony length depends on how many veterans are being honored each year. In 2022 we honored 513 veterans and the ceremony lasted about three hours.
Will there be seating at the induction ceremony?
Yes, seating is provided for the ceremony. We will ask for you to RSVP to ensure we arrange for the proper number of chairs.
How far is it from the bus drop-off to the induction ceremony location?
The buses drop off about 500 feet from the ceremony.
How far away are the bathrooms?
The closest bathrooms are about 300 feet from the ceremony location.
Will there be wheelchairs available?
Although we do not provide wheelchairs, the ceremony area is typically wheelchair accessible. The ceremony is held on the grassy area and can be somewhat difficult to maneuver – especially if the ground is wet.
What is the dress code?
There is no specific dress code. Past participant attire has ranged from casual dress to church dress. We recommend that you dress for the weather. The ceremony will be held rain or shine. Should it rain, the area can become muddy. We recommend that you wear comfortable shoes that are not easily damaged.
It can be very hot and humid during the ceremony as it takes place in the open grass near the Memorial and there is there limited shade. We recommend that you bring at least one bottle of water for each member of your party. Hats and sunscreen are also strongly encouraged.
Will I be reading my honorees name at the induction ceremony?
Yes, you have the opportunity to read your loved one’s name during the ceremony. Our Master of Ceremonies will indicate when the reading of the names will begin. When you are at the microphone, please read your loved one’s name only. You may add their relationship to you, for example, “my husband, John Doe.” Out of respect to other families, please refrain from making additional remarks. If you are unable to attend the ceremony, a volunteer will take your honoree’s tribute to the stage and read your honoree’s name. You will be sent the personal tribute certificate and one yearbook.
What is the personal tribute certificate?
The personal tribute certificate is a 8.5″ x 11″ certificate created by VVMF that contains the honoree’s name, photos, date of birth, date of death, and branch of service.
What do I do with the personal tribute certificate?
The personal tribute certificate is yours to take home as a lasting keepsake.
Will there be a photographer?
Yes, VVMF provides a professional photographer at the ceremony. The photos will be available (about one week after the ceremony) for purchase on our website. Last year’s photos can be seen here. You will also be able to purchase additional copies of the personal tribute certificate after the ceremony.
Will this event be televised?
At this time it is not planned to have the induction ceremony televised, although we do plan to live stream the induction ceremony on our website and Facebook page. If you are watching on Facebook, please like our page to ensure you will be notified of the livestream and to stay up to date on the In Memory program.
I have seen T-shirts with honoree names on them. How do I get one?
Each year VVMF hosts a limited time sales campaign to purchase shirts that list the names of all honorees for that year. All accepted applicants will be emailed when the shirt sale is happening and will have the opportunity to purchase. Proceeds from these sales go directly towards the cost of hosting the In Memory weekend of events.
Is my loved one honored every year?
Yes, VVMF has a tradition of a virtual reading of the names of all those previously inducted into the In Memory program. This happens online each year before the annual In Memory Induction Ceremony for new honorees. VVMF also honors all who have been inducted into the In Memory program throughout the year through their personal Honor Roll pages and our traveling exhibit The Wall That Heals.
How can I continue to honor my loved one?
Please continue to visit and forward your loved ones online personal remembrance page on the In Memory Honor Roll, and post personal remembrances to them. You should also watch the schedule for The Wall That Heals so that you can visit when it’s in your area and see your loved one’s photo.
How can I help others learn about the In Memory program?
There are many ways to help spread the word about In Memory. The best way to start is to share your personal story about honoring your loved one. For information and ideas on how share your story click here.
What is the In Memory Circle of Friends?
The In Memory Circle of Friends is a community of supporters who make it possible for VVMF to maintain the In Memory program, which now honors more than 5,000 veterans. Their generous support helps ensure that VVMF can continue honoring these Vietnam veterans by hosting the annual induction ceremony, maintaining the online In Memory Honor Roll, and displaying the In Memory honorees at The Wall That Heals. To learn more about supporting In Memory through this community click here.
I still have questions.
Please send an email to Julianna Blaylock at [email protected] or call (202) 330-4950.
In June 2022, as part of VVMF’s 40th anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, we held the first ever in-person In Memory Honor Roll Call. This was a full reading of the more than 5,000 In Memory honorees inducted from 1993-2021. Traditionally, this reading happens each year virtually before the ceremony to induct new honorees. This was the first time the In Memory Honor Roll Call was in-person, in Washington, D.C.
Please note the names of the 2022 In Memory honorees were not be read at this event. We wanted the families of the 2022 honorees to be the first to read their names at the 2022 In Memory Induction Ceremony which happened on Saturday, June 18th. To watch the 2022 In Memory Induction Ceremony click here.
Each year we invite past participants to the annual In Memory ceremony to again read their honoree’s name aloud. An invite to all past participants from 1993-2022 will go out via email in early 2023.
The video below is from October of 2021 where we virtually read the names of the nearly 5,000 Vietnam veterans that have been inducted into the program from 1993-2020. Names were read by year of induction – alphabetical within the year – and images of your loved ones from the In Memory Honor Roll were displayed.
Click on the video below to watch last years virtual In Memory Honor Roll Call.
In Memory Circle of Friends
What is the Circle of Friends?
As a member of the In Memory Circle of Friends, you will be part of a community of supporters who know firsthand the struggle to receive support and acknowledgement for veterans who suffered from illnesses related to Agent Orange exposure, PTSD, and other causes related to their service. Your support will help honor and recognize the sacrifices of families and friends who shared that journey. Through collective outreach, encouragement, and compassion, you can help bring healing to those who continue to feel the effects of the Vietnam War.
How do I join?
What are the benefits?
These are additional benefits to honoring someone through the In Memory Program
- Recognition of your honoree during In Memory weekend
- Two reserved seats at next year’s ceremony (if you choose to attend)
- Acknowledgement in the In Memory yearbook and at the welcome gathering during In Memory weekend
- A special In Memory collectible coin
Your support will also help us maintain the In Memory program which now honors more than 5,000 veterans. Together, we will continue to pay tribute to our nation’s Vietnam veterans and their families.
For more information on joining the In Memory Circle of Friends, please contact Luz Lovins at [email protected] or 202-330-4951.