About Jan Scruggs

Please enjoy this website. This will help you learn more about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the reasons why I was so determined to see this very successful work of architecture built. Over 5 million visitors a year come to experience this special place. Many are veterans, but mostly the people are visitors from around the world.

My family including two brothers and a sister, moved to Washington DC during World War II. My mother was a waitress. My dad drove trucks and sold insurance. These were good and honest people.

I volunteered for the draft. Ironically, it turned out my draft number was so high, I never would have been drafted. I went to Vietnam in 1969 as a rifleman with the 199th Infantry Brigade. I received the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantry Badge, and an award for gallantry. From some of the difficult experiences involving deaths of my fellow soldiers, I developed what is now called post-traumatic stress. To deal with this I began a research project in Graduate School and testified before Congress in support of establishing the now nationwide Vet Center Program.

Flowing from all of this I decided to build a national memorial engraved with the names of the American fallen from the Vietnam War. Thanks to many talented and determined people, we succeeded in 1982. In 1986 I decided to become a lawyer. I graduated and remain a member of the Washington DC Bar, but had a higher calling. In 1992, after the 10th Anniversary, I decided to devote my life to The Wall.

In a twist of fate, on Veterans Day, November 11, 2017 I fell ill and was put into an induced coma for 30 days and not expected to survive. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel worked to secure a burial site at Arlington National Cemetery. I was basically given up for dead, but fully recovered a year later from a heart disease known as “Endocarditis.” My wife, Becky, rarely left my side and was determined to see me survive.

I now visit the Memorial regularly. The Wall is a great place to better understand America and our people. They show respect and reverence.

Jan Scruggs and his wife Becky currently live in Annapolis, Maryland, home of the US Naval Academy.