(HawaiiNewsNow) - Behind every name, there's a story and a face. The photographs of Hawaii's 276 fallen heroes are needed, and the community is being asked to answer the call. Hawaii's photographs will be part of the 58,272 photos of Vietnam casualties, to be displayed at a planned Education Center at the famous Vietnam Veterans Memorial, also known as The Wall, in Washington DC ( www.vvmf.org).
The Education Center will showcase photos of individuals whose names are on The Wall and display collections of items and letters left by loved ones and fellow soldiers. "We now have over 19,000 out of the 58,272 pictures that we need," says Jan Scruggs, president and founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. "New Mexico and North Dakota have completed the task of getting the needed photographs. Hawaii is of such symbolic importance to the rest of the nation, and finding these photos will be significant for this project."
"Hawaii has 276 names etched on the black granite wall at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. We have collected 101 photos thus far", says Billie Gabriel, Hawaii liaison for the Call for Photos project.
"Our goal is to collect at least 140 photos by the end of August. I am reaching out to our community who may have a photo of their brother, uncle, friend, classmate or fellow soldier whose name is on The Wall.
Let us honor the brave who represent courage, honor and loyalty to their heritage and their aina."
Gabriel, whose brother was the first Native Hawaiian and Green Beret to be killed in Vietnam, believes a grassroots effort will help find these remaining 175 photographs. Veterans groups, high school reunion groups, school libraries, families and the media can help make this happen. 62 out of 193 photos needed from O`ahu have already been received.
More than 16,580 people from the state of Hawaii served in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War and more than 82,904 people from Hawaii have an immediate family member who served in Southeast Asia during the war.