The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is one of the most recognizable structures in Washington, D.C., and an initiative may bring a new feature to the famous monument. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and second lady Dr. Jill Biden led a ceremonial groundbreaking on a new education center at the site aimed at teaching Americans about those killed in combat, according to The Associated Press.
The planned center is expected to be located next to the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, and will cost about $85 million. Though construction has yet to begin, organizers are hopeful that they can complete the project by 2014, just when the final troops from Afghanistan are heading home. Biden says the center needs to be built to help show Americans why honoring the troops is so important.
"There are many Americans who don't know anyone in the military," she told the AP. "That's why the education center is so important to me. It will help ensure that our veterans will always be remembered, not just in name but by their actions."
The planning is still in its earliest stages, but designers anticipate having pictures of each of the 58,000 soldiers killed during the conflict in Vietnam. They also want to do the same to the 6,600 troops who have given their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq.