Ten feet tall at its highest point, its jet-black granite polished to a mirror shine, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial honors service members who lost their lives or went missing during the years long conflict in Southeast Asia.
But thousands of names are missing: those of veterans who made it home and later died of physical wounds and other causes related to their service.
Now those who fought for their country but did not die in combat are being recognized as part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s In Memory Honor Roll. The program memorializes those who died as a result of their service, including from PTSD-related suicide and complications from exposure to the toxic herbicide Agent Orange. This year, 534 men are being added to the list.
“There are so many veterans left with the effects of their service for a lifetime and are just overlooked. They deserve to be acknowledged,” said Joy Lamboy of Walnut Creek, whose father, Ronald Lamboy, is being honored this year. He died last year of cirrhosis related to Agent Orange exposure.
Photos of the veterans on the Honor Roll will be displayed alongside The Wall That Heals, the VVMF’s traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, and the vets will have their own page on the program’s website. They also will be memorialized during a ceremony at the memorial in Washington, D.C., on June 15.
Every year on Memorial Day, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund brings together thousands of family members, and every name on the list is read. The application for family members is simple and can be found on the VVMF website.
“This is a recognition of people’s service, to let people know they’re important, that they served their country,” said Carol Taylor of San Francisco, whose husband, Thomas Taylor, died last year after a battle with prostate cancer related to exposure to Agent Orange. He also will be added to the Honor Roll this year.