Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 02/16/2013 02:11 | By Channel NewsAsia

S’pore to up financial support for Vietnam war education centre

S’pore to up financial support for Vietnam war education centre

S’pore to up financial support for Vietnam war education centre

WASHINGTON: Singapore is stepping up financial support for the proposed Education Centre wing of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.

A foundation is raising money for a companion education centre to go with the much—viewed Vietnam War Memorial — known as the Wall.

Singapore wants to support efforts to tell untold stories of the war, and to honour America’s long—standing engagement with Southeast Asia, citing a perspective first put forth by former minister mentor Lee Kuan Yew.

Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, Singapore’s ambassador to the US, said: "It’s a continuing engagment, but what happened in the 1960s is that US engagement brought stability to the region. The countries of Southeast Asia were very new in the 1960s in a fairly unstable region. That US intervention in Southeast Asia brought the peace and harmony to develop as the market successes that have emerged in the past 50 years."

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the start of the war in Vietnam, President Barack Obama said: "And so a central part of this 50th anniversary will be to tell your story as it should have been told all along. It’s another change to set the record straight."

A ceremonial ground breaking was held in November 2012 to start work on an education centre to help tell those stories and to house the many mementos people leave at the wall.

But, more work needs to be done to achieve the goal of completing the centre in two years’ time.

Jan Scruggs, president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, said: "We’re in the middle of a capital campaign, and this contribution is significant because part of what we need is for other nations to help us out to help us raise this money, so we’re almost at the halfway point."

The government of Singapore is donating funds towards an education centre to display the many objects, memories and photos tied to the Vietnam War Memorial.

Robert Kimmitt, former US ambassador said: "I think the best thing we can do to remember the people whose names are memorialized here is to continue to build on that foundation of stability and security in Asia."

For the friends and family members of the more than 58,000 American servicemen and women killed during the decade of the Vietnam War, the memorial is sacred ground.

They hope that the education centre will help tell the stories of the veterans — more than 40 years after the Vietnam war ended.

— CNA/xq

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