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Vietnam Memorial Has Spelling Errors Set In Stone
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Vietnam Memorial Has Spelling Errors Set In Stone

Art & Design


The MLK memorial isn't the only monument bedeviled by mistakes in stone. There are more than 58,000 names engraved on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and some of them have been misspelled.

Jan Scruggs is president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation.

JAN SCRUGGS: This is probably the most accurate memorial in the entire world, but one-tenth of one percent of the names, a little bit over 100, were misspelled. Sixty-two of them have been reengraved.

CORNISH: That's at a cost of about $4,000 per name. Sometimes, the fix has been straightforward, changing one letter into another, an L into an E, for example, but other times, fixing a misspelled name means moving it elsewhere on the wall.

SCRUGGS: The second name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, as statistically improbable as it may sound, is actually one of those spelled incorrectly. Chester Ovnand from Oklahoma, killed by the Viet Kong in 1959 while watching a movie. In order to reengrave it, we had to move it from panel one to panel 7E. I'm mentioning that because, historically, that removes everything from the way this memorial was designed.

The names of the people who died together are on the wall together and they are alphabetized by day, so when we found a place to put his name, we ended up having to put him in with the 1966 casualties.

CORNISH: Scruggs says not every family chooses to have mistakes corrected. Evangelista Pagan Rodriguez's first name is misspelled as Evangelis on the memorial. Scruggs says the family wanted to keep the Army Private where he was on the wall with the others who died in Vietnam on November 26, 1966.



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