History students uncover biographical information about Virginians killed in Vietnam War

A close-up of the Shrine of Memory at the Virginia War Memorial.

The Shrine of Memory at the Virginia War Memorial.

Engraved on the Virginia War Memorial’s Shrine of Memory are the names of 1,303 Virginians killed in the Vietnam War. Of these, however, only 186 have pictures and complete biographical information.

This fall, graduate students in a Virginia Commonwealth University history course are conducting research on a number of these names, digging through databases, searching government records, contacting family members, and connecting with others who served alongside the person.

Kyndall S. Drumheller, research and policy manager at the Virginia War Memorial, said the class’ research is instrumental to the memorial’s educational efforts.

“When the memorial was built in 1956, all we had were the names, ranks and branches of service for each person listed in the shrine,” she said. “What we have been doing for the past three years is gather biographical information and photographs on each individual so we can better tell their stories of sacrifice. The students’ efforts play an integral part in this process.”

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