For the first time since we asked you to help find pictures of fallen Kentucky soldiers from the Vietnam War, we won’t be asking you to help us in 2019. The photograph of every single Kentuckian killed during Vietnam has been submitted and is being displayed on the wall of “Faces Not Forgotten.”
We first requested your help just before Memorial Day in 2014 with a list of names of Kentucky soldiers killed but without their pictures. Think of it. Five years ago this month, some 600 Kentuckians did not have their photos appearing on the “Wall of Faces.” Soon after the initial request, that number was lowered to 458 Kentuckians. And around Veterans Day in 2014, we made yet another appeal. The missing photos went from 458 to 416 by Thanksgiving 2014. All because of you, Kentucky newspapers.
You promoted it and then we made it an annual request around Memorial Day and Veterans Day. You continued helping as gradually more and more pictures were submitted by families or friends.
Last fall, as Veterans Day neared, another request was made of state press associations, asking for help in again getting newspapers to promote the effort. Andrew Johnson, who had just been installed as president of the National Newspaper Association, sent word encouraging us to continue helping. I told Andrew we would again make the request, “just send me the names and hometowns of those Kentuckians we’re seeking.”
Within a few days, Andrew emailed me to let me know there was no help needed from Kentucky. “Through the efforts of Kentucky newspapers, every soldier’s picture is now displayed on the memorial.”
Andrew started the project a few years ago. His son was killed in Vietnam and that’s when he learned of all the soldiers who were named but did not have a picture with that memorial. It was personal to him but as the publisher of a weekly newspaper in Wisconsin, he knows of the power of newspapers in getting the word out to communities across the country.
When Andrew started the effort to find photos, there were more than 10,000 soldiers who gave their life but whose picture was missing. As of this week, only 1,018 pictures are needed and nearly half of those are from New York (497).
You can find a complete list of the Kentuckians killed in Vietnam at http://www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces/search/results?HOME_ST_RC=KY
Go one step further and on that page, click on Advanced Search toward the upper right side. Fill out the name of the city, the county and the state and you’ll go directly to all soldiers from the Kentucky city or the county who were killed in Vietnam.
As we approach Memorial Day, go to that website, find the pictures of soldiers from your county who were killed and do a special page as a memorial to them.
Get local businesses to underwrite the page, especially business owners who are veterans or who are connected to veteran services.