At Vietnam Vets Memorial, Green Grass Aplenty | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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At Vietnam Vets Memorial, Green Grass Aplenty

Donations help maintain meticulous grounds around 'The Wall' 

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Despite the heat and abnormally dry weather that has tormented the region this summer, the grass remains green at The Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Not only is the lawn green, but its meticulously manicured. 

Bonnie Stover, who's visiting the memorial from Texas, has noticed the difference. 

"I think part of the memorial is the grounds surrounding that and we would be disrespectful to those who gave their lives and their families to not maintain the beauty of the surroundings," Stover says.

A few years ago, however, the grounds were not being maintained as well as Jan Scruggs, the founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, thought they could be. So, in 2009 the organization took over maintenance at the memorial from the National Park Service. 

Scruggs then launched a campaign to get the grass surrounding the wall watered and cared for at least three times a week. Maintaining a plush, green landscape in the middle of one of the hottest summers on record costs almost $1,000 per week, Scruggs says. It's paid for through private donations.

"We have to hire private contractors to do this work," he says. Scruggs, a Vietnam Veteran himself, says it's worth it.

"It's about 4 acres and we have to keep the grass watered, we have to fertilize it, to really keep it in good shape for the tourists because these are the names of our buddies," he says.

The National Park Service did not return calls for comment.

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