By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
During a dedication ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial, where Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced her nation would donate $3 million toward an education center at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen cited the long relationship between
and the Australia . United States
Some 60,000 Australians served in
, the chairman said, and 521 were killed. Vietnam
“We remember Australians’ sacrifice as we do our own,” he said. “And this education center will remind future generations of Australians and Americans, and indeed every nation, about the sacrifices of all those who served in
The United States and Australia share a strong affinity, historical roots, strong democratic institutions and cultures bolstered by immigrants hailing from lands around the globe, Mullen said. The two nations are the closest of allies, he added, fighting alongside each other in every conflict from World War I on.
“Since the Great White Fleet sailed into
more than 100 years ago,” said Mullen, who served in Sydney Harbor early in his career, “our militaries have likewise enjoyed a strong bond based on professionalism, courtesy and respect.” Vietnam
The memorial lists the names of all Americans killed or missing during the Vietnam War. A native-born Australian’s name is etched on the memorial. John Louis Molyneaux Jr., whose name appears on Panel 45W, Row 15, served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Marines Corps and died on
Aug. 31, 1968, in Quang province, Nam . South Vietnam
“It symbolizes so much about the
era for both of our countries,” Gillard said. “To enter into, and [to] reflect within and emerge from the memorial, is an emotional journey for anyone.” Vietnam
In a news release announcing the event, Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, said Australia is the first government institution to donate to the education center, and the donation marks the center’s first foreign gift.
“The Australians were our steadfast allies during the Vietnam War,” Scruggs said. “We are gratified that the Australian people feel so deeply about helping us build the
at The Wall to honor all who served and sacrificed during that war. We welcome their partnership once again in this important endeavor.” Education Center
Retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey -- who served in
and chairs the education center’s advisory board -- also spoke at the ceremony. Vietnam
“We’re going to build this exhibit and bring to life the memories of the 58,000
troops killed and the 300,000 wounded,” he said. U.S.
at The Wall was conceived as a way to put faces to the thousands of names on the memorial and to educate current and future generations about the men and women who gave everything for their country, and to tell their stories, officials said. Education Center
Other exhibits will showcase some of the 150,000 items left at the memorial in tribute and will provide a timeline of events for the Vietnam War and the memorial’s construction, they added.
(Terri Moon Cronk of American Forces Press Service contributed to this report.)