Jan C. Scruggs at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Dane A. Penland, 1982)
Jan Scruggs is best known for being the founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Scruggs served as a corporal in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, and upon completion of his service attended American University in Washington, D.C where he obtained a master's degree in counseling. During the course of graduate studies, Scruggs came up with the idea of a memorial to honor the American veterans of the Vietnam War, and began to raise funds after the United States Congress did not take action. The effort began with $2,800 of his own money and eventually raised over $8 million, coming mostly from private donations. The memorial was dedicated in November 1982.
In 1983, Scruggs received the Samuel S. Beard Award for Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35 Years or Under, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards. He has received many other awards.
The current mission underway is the Education Center at The Wall. This facility, working in synergy with The Wall, will exemplify America's Legacy of Service. The Center will help welcome home veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan as it also teaches also about the Vietnam War and the values of the US Armed Forces.
Scruggs now manages the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund as CEO. He is also a motivational speaker and attorney. He has authored several books dealing with the Vietnam War and numerous articles for the Washington Post and other publications