WASHINGTON D.C. —
Shari Kirkpatrick’s father made it home from Vietnam. But many others from her state did not. She has now made it her mission to collect a photo of each of the Iowans named on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall.
For Kirkpatrick, the project started last month when The Wall That Heals stopped in Washington, Iowa, and went to see it with one of her sons and her parents. Her father, Thomas R. Brickman, served with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 196th Light Infantry Brigade and was in Vietnam from 1967-68. Brickman had been drafted into the Army from Bremer County, Iowa.
“My dad has talked a little bit about Vietnam over the years and we have visited The Wall That Heals before, but it was just different this time,” Shari said.
Her father and other veterans swapped stories at the site and as the family was leaving, Bob Dobeck approached them. Dobeck and his wife, Brenda, are site managers for TWTH and Bob asked Brickman if he had found the names he was looking for. Brickman told Dobeck that he hadn’t because he couldn’t remember some of the information, so Dobeck helped them use the computer database to look up the names.
As they were searching for the names and chatting, Dobeck mentioned the Call For Photos initiative to collect photos of each of the 58,282 names etched on The Wall in Washington, D.C. Dobeck also has Iowa ties and said he wanted to make sure all of the names from Iowa would have a photo in the Education Center at The Wall being built across the street.
Kirkpatrick decided to get involved and help collect the photos from Iowa. She and her parents launched a campaign to collect the photos and have been reaching out statewide to accomplish their goal. To date, VVMF has collected 356 photos of the 853 Iowans on The Wall. Today, an airman from Iowa was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, just a few miles from The Wall. Dennis Eilers’ had been missing since his plane went down over Laos in 1965. Eilers’ photo is one of those from Iowa that has been submitted and will be displayed in the Education Center.
“I want to accomplish this mission as it is the ultimate gift I could give my Dad, veterans and families and friends of the soldiers,” Kirkpatrick said.
If you have a picture of a loved one or fellow veteran whose name is on the wall, help Kirkpatrick collect their photos. Make it the highest quality possible. The picture doesn’t have to be military. It can be a senior picture, obituary picture, or whatever you wish to submit.
Scan picture and send it to email@example.com or mail to Shari Kirkpatrick, 302 Upper Ridge, Reinbeck, Iowa 50669.
About VVMF and the Education Center at the Wall:
The Education Center at The Wall is a place on our National Mall where our military heroes' stories and sacrifice will never be forgotten. With a groundbreaking planned for November 2012, the Education Center is a multi-million dollar, state-of- the-art visitor’s center and learning facility to be built on the grounds of the Vietnam Veterans and Lincoln Memorials. Visitors will better understand the profound impact the Vietnam War had their friends and family members, their hometowns and the nation. The Center will feature the faces and stories of the 58,282 men and women on The Wall, honoring those who fell in Vietnam, those who fought and returned, as well as the friends and families of all who served.
Established in 1979, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., promoting healing and educating about the impact of the Vietnam War.