Vietnam War veterans say many Utah corporations are apathetic when it comes to lending support to a war memorial planned for the grounds of the State Capitol.
Members of the Utah Vietnam Era Veterans Memorial Committee said Thursday they are far short of their $231,000 goal for erecting the memorial by Veterans Day on Nov. 11.They called on Utah's congressional delegation to help by sending letters or making phone calls.
"People won't listen unless it's someone of authority who has written," said Jim Slade, the group's fund-raiser.
Forty major Utah firms have declined to donate to the memorial. Some said they would donate only if the name of their company was inscribed on a plaque.
So far, the group has raised about $100,000. However, $25,000 of that is in the form of pledges and the group already has spent $50,000.
"We continue to feel the apathy toward the Vietnam veteran that we've felt over the last 20 years," Slade said, noting the companies think nothing of giving thousands of dollars to other causes.
The veterans want to erect a statue of a soldier carrying two rifles, one slung over his left shoulder and the other in his right hand, and carrying his helmet in his left hand. The statue will be surrounded by a 60-foot circular wall bearing the names of the 364 Utah men who died in the war and will be place on the lawn west of the Capitol.
Members of the group said there may be disputes over other names that should be added to the wall. Some soldiers grew up in Utah but are listed on federal registers as resident of the state where they enlisted.
The group voted to study each disputed name individually and not to rely on the federal government to change the official residence of the soldiers.
The meeting was attended by Lt. Gov. Val Oveson, Rep. Howard Nielson, R-Utah, and representatives for Reps. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, and James Hansen, R-Utah, and Sens. Jake Garn and Orrin Hatch, both R-Utah.
Nielson said Utah's congressional delegation should send a combined letter to corporate officials asking for donations.