The Vietnam Veterans Memorial features more than 58,000 names, but an online effort is working to better tell their story and give them all a face.
Memorial Day is always a time of reflection for Vietnam vet Don Ritterbusch.
“It was an unpopular war and it was a difficult war to come home from,” Ritterbusch said.
Still, Ritterbusch knows more than 58,000 men and women didn't even get a chance to come home from the Vietnam War alive. For years those names have been etched into black granite in Washington.
“It’s very difficult to see but necessary to see,” Ritterbusch said.
"As far as I'm concerned that wall is sacred ground,” said Paul McMullen, a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars. "They sacrificed."
A new effort called the Wall of Faces is hoping to extend and add to the legacy left by those who gave their lives. The Wall of Faces is an interactive online database, with the goal of collecting photos, information and remembrances for every name listed on the wall.
McMullen's former classmate, Riley Pitts, is among those listed.
"He's a Medal of Honor winner,” McMullen said. “He fell on a grenade to save his men."
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is currently fundraising in hopes of building an education center, which would feature a Wall of Faces exhibit. So far, they've collected about 41,000 photos, but it won’t be complete until everyone is represented.
“Time goes by and it`s easy to forget or to bury things,” Ritterbusch said. “But it`s important that America is, and there are people with an effort to remember and make things right.”
To search the Wall of Faces and for more information on how you can help, follow this link.