Veterans group to maintain lawn at war memorial

Jan Scruggs and his Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund are taking over lawn care at the site of the Vietnam War memorial. (Jacquelyn Martin/ Associated Press)

Jan Scruggs and the group that build the Vietnam War memorial are going to take over the lawn care for 13.5 acres. It’s the little section of the National Mall where the memorial sits, however it has suffered and now has lots of weeds and brown spots.

For many years, the National Mall has been known as “America’s Front Yard.” Members of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund decided to do something about the poor maintenance when they read a story describing the lack of federal money for the National Mall.

It basically comes down to the mall being at a disadvantage in competing for the funds handed out by lawmakers, versus other locations that are represented by members of Congress.  The National Mall covers roughly 650 acres in the District of Columbia, which doesn’t have a vote in the House or Sentate.

Lawmakers usually try to get money for projects in their own districts, but even with visible problems Congress stopped a bill that would have given some money for repairs.  Besides the weeds and brown spots, the seawall is sinking in front of Thomas Jefferson’s memorial.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is going to start on repairs soon starting with the irrigation system.  Other repairs will include weed treatment, fertilization, and aeration.  The group is working with the National Park Service to make sure all of the improvements will adhere to the National Park Service’s specifications.  Jan Scruggs, The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund president, said the group plans on maintaining the grass in the long term.

Scruggs said he hoped the effort might inspire other groups to take over lawn care elsewhere on the mall.

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