Monday, March 24, 2008

Viet vets make pitch to unions for memorial dollars

SAN DIEGO (PAI) -- The man who was and is the moving force behind construction of the famed Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington is asking the nation’s unions for money for an interpretive center there.

Jan Scruggs, President of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, addressed the AFL-CIO Executive Council on the issue on March 4, during the council’s meeting in San Diego.

Scruggs did not ask the federation as a whole for money for the $100 million interpretive center, which would be built on the Mall in Washington behind the memorial itself, said Machinists President Tom Buffenbarger. Instead, Scruggs asked the assembled leaders to commit to contributions from their individual unions, added Buffenbarger, who sponsored Scruggs’ visit.

“We’re in for big bucks,” pledging a contribution of $1 million, said Buffenbarger, whose union includes many veterans and represents many defense workers and aerospace workers. “There are several unions, headed by veterans, that we expect will get involved,” he added.

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