Progress being made on Papillion’s Vietnam veterans memorial

A state grant was awarded to help with construction of a Vietnam War memorial in Papillion.
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 7:01 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A little more than a year ago, the Nebraska Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation broke ground to build a new Vietnam War memorial in Papillion, next door to the Sumtur Amphitheater.

The memorial will feature an honor wall with the names of the 396 Nebraskans who died in the Vietnam War. A little more than a year later, not much has been done at the site -- but with a $2.5 million grant from the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs, the $7.3 million dollar project is now fully funded and officials plan to begin moving dirt on the site next week. Some believe the memorial is long overdue.

“The soldiers were only doing what their country asked them to do, bore the brunt of this country’s animosity towards that conflict,” said Lisa Jorgensen, vice president of the Nebraska Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation. “They did not get a heroes’ welcome. We want this memorial to be a place of healing, a place of peace, and to show the families and people that sacrificed so much during that time that we do appreciate them.”

Jorgensen is also the senior director for community initiatives for Bellevue University. The school is one of the partners in the project, providing staff, expertise and technology to record and make public of Nebraskans’ experiences in the war.

“Vietnam veterans make up the majority of our older set of veterans,” Jorgensen said. “They’re dying every day. That’s the blunt reality of it. Many of them have never spoken of their service. We find stories where even their family members don’t really know what their involvement was in the Vietnam War. We need their stories so people can learn from that and that we never make that mistake again.”

Officials from the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs tell 6 News the memorial should be complete and open to the public on National Vietnam War Veterans’ Day on March 29 of next year, weather-permitting.