CHICAGO (WBBM Newsradio) — Two suburban state lawmakers say the effort to create a digital database of every service member killed in the Vietnam War is going very well in Illinois and across the country.
State Rep. David Harris (R-Arlington Heights) and state Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) sponsored resolutions in Springfield calling attention to the Virtual Vietnam Veterans Wall of Faces, an effort to find a photo to go with every name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in D.C.
Harris said there’s a national drive to find photos of the men and women in uniform who were killed in Vietnam, but whose pictures haven’t been located yet.
“What we’re looking for here are individuals who may know of a Vietnam veteran whose name is on the wall, in local communities, who would say, ‘Hey, I know that person, and I have a photo of that soldier, or sailor, or airman, or Marine,’” he said.
The representative said photos have been found for a number of Illinois faces needed for the display near the Vietnam wall.
Harris, a U.S. Army veteran, said the Wall of Faces project started after a fire wiped out a national database of U.S. service members who died in Vietnam, destroying the photographic records of 24,000 listed on the memorial wall.
Harris and Cullerton sponsored resolutions to spur the effort to find pictures of veterans from Illinois.
“There are a few states who have already gotten all of their Vietnam vets, gotten pictures into the project, and I’d like us to be one of those states as well,” Cullerton said.
The lawmakers said the National Parks Service will place a digital database of the photos underground near the memorial wall on the National Mall in D.C.