By Andy Owens
Published Sept. 12, 2013
Several grants are paving the way for the Patriots Point Development Authority to launch a series of programs recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
During a special board meeting Wednesday aboard the aircraft carrier Yorktown, Executive Director Mac Burdette asked the Patriots Point staff to look into possible collaboration with the state of South Carolina.
So far, Patriots Point has received $55,000 in grants for the organization’s Vietnam Experience, including $25,000 from Charleston County’s accommodations tax fund. Burdette said Patriots Point plans to go back to Charleston County Council in December with comprehensive plans for the exhibit.
“They pretty well pledged the other night that they’re going to help us with up to $200,000 for implementation of it,” Burdette said.
Burdette said with the Vietnam War’s 50th anniversary being recognized across the United States from 2012 to 2025, Patriots Point could have programs connected to specific milestones during the war and could even bring back a mobile version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall. The downsized replica of the Washington, D.C., memorial was on display at Patriots Point several years ago.
“We need to find out what the state as a whole is doing,” Burdette said. “I’m not even sure they’ve planned anything yet. But I hope that y’all would agree that Patriots Point ought to be the spearpoint of whatever we do for that recognition period in the state of South Carolina.”
Burdette said activities and events would be connected to the Department of Defense and other things going on across the nation. He and board Chairman Ray Chandler said the Charleston area is home to many Vietnam veterans — including a Medal of Honor recipient — who could make the efforts come to life. He said he hopes the state will form a committee to coordinate events across South Carolina.
“The main drive is to get our Vietnam Experience completed by the end of 2014,” Burdette said.
Reach Andy Owens at 843-849-3142.