The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation today held a legislative hearing on H.R. 588, theVietnam Veterans Donor Acknowledgment Act of 2013 introduced by Alaskan Congressman Don Young earlier this year.
Speaking in support of his legislation, Rep. Young stated, "In 2003, Congress passed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor Center Act to authorize the construction of an Education Center at the Vietnam Wall; not a single Member voted against it," Rep. Young said.
"We passed this bill with such strong support because every year an increasing number of the millions of visitors to the Wall stand in awe of the moving display of the over 58,000 names, but do not fully understand the context and importance of this memorial."
"Unfortunately, the Senate tossed a wrench into the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor Center Act by prohibiting donor recognition in the Education Center. In spite of this restriction, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund has raised over $40 million from private donors. Yet, this amount falls far short of the funds needed to build the Education Center."
"Mr. Chairman, my bill, H.R. 588, is actually quite simple and it helps solve the fundraising problem for this Center. My bill allows for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation to recognize donors."
"It is ridiculous to force any organization to fundraise without the ability to recognize donors. How are they supposed to raise any money? Even the National Parks Service understands the importance of donor recognition. I've personally seen a lot of benches in National Parks all across this country that have plaques on them thanking people for their generous donations."
In addition to Congressman Young's testimony, Jan Scruggs, President of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and Dr. Herbert Frost of the U.S. Park Service testified in support of the bill.
"The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund thanks Congressman Young, as well as Chairman Bishop, Ranking Member Grijalva and other subcommittee members for their strong support of this simple but crucial bill," said Jan C. Scruggs, President and Founder of VVMF. "This bill goes beyond being important to us, donor recognition is urgent. We hope that the legislation will be expeditiously approved by Congress, so we can continue to move the capital campaign forward."