Jan Scruggs
Memorial founder

Jan Scruggs

Founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

Archive: Jan Scruggs

Age is what you make it

There are some people at peak talent in their 70s and beyond.

By Jan Scruggs | December 20, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

The dream lives on

Why do some people from families with many financial advantages end up accomplishing so little, while those who have no advantages end up doing so well?

By Jan Scruggs | December 13, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

'Go and sin no more'

Vick does some public speaking for the Humane Society. He is, at his core, a good person. He has paid the price -- by serving time -- for his crime.

By Jan Scruggs | November 22, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Getting the job done

Can Congress execute a successful game plan with this political split? Of course it can. Congress has been in this business for more than 200 years.

By Jan Scruggs | November 8, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

Mysteries and miracles

Why did I survive? I can only speculate. Two near-death experiences changed the way I look at life. Fate has given me an interesting and challenging life. There is a mission ahead.

By Jan Scruggs | October 25, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

So difficult; so worth it

Even after one person's 'a-ha! moment,' success often comes when an array of people 'bump into each other' and think of new solutions. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial's education center will be unlike anything that has ever been done.

By Jan Scruggs | October 11, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

Make or break

My experience is to find people with skill sets far in excess of my own and to try to be guided by their wisdom. This would be my advice for President Obama.

By Jan Scruggs | October 4, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Never give up

Paul Rieckhoff lives to hit home runs. The founder of a group for U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, he -- and people like him -- hit home runs for other people. That is the difference.

By Jan Scruggs | September 13, 2010; 12:38 AM ET | Comments (1)

A spark for life

I strive for enthusiasm in life. Whatever I'm doing, I just go full tilt, all the way. As Aldous Huxley said, 'The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age.'

By Jan Scruggs | August 23, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The guy's a lout

Such behavior goes against our societal values and individual sensibilities. There is nothing to admire about this abhorrent behavior.

By Jan Scruggs | August 15, 2010; 07:25 PM ET | Comments (2)

A cool breeze

I was very happy to see Chelsea Clinton get betrothed. There are reasons why I felt this way while watching the news overage -- I mean coverage.

By Jan Scruggs | August 5, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The risks not taken

In 1979 I had an idea for a national Memorial on the Mall honoring those Americans who served in Vietnam. I simply had to do this. It became an epic quest.

By Jan Scruggs | August 2, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

Don't rush to judgment

I think I've seen about 10 times more coverage of the Sherrod dustup than I have of a nuclear armed nation in Asia that is threatening to use atomic weapons in the next week or so.

By Jan Scruggs | July 26, 2010; 09:52 AM ET | Comments (6)

Little, attractive beasts

These little devices are metaphorical/ allegorical sexy beasts to which we become seductively enslaved and hopelessly addicted.

By Jan Scruggs | July 21, 2010; 09:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Defining success

The question now is whether we can -- or need to -- succeed in Afghanistan. We can if we find a way to define success that our political and military forces can achieve at a price that our society is willing to pay.

By Jan Scruggs | July 12, 2010; 12:43 AM ET | Comments (2)

Legacy is intact

Now the masseuse has gone to the tabloids calling Gore a "sick man" and "a crazed sex poodle." Good grief.

By Jan Scruggs | July 8, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (12)

Pitfalls and opportunities

You can succeed in a workplace where you disagree with the means to the end. But not when you don't agree with the philosophy or mission. It will drive you nearly insane.

By Jan Scruggs | July 1, 2010; 05:20 PM ET | Comments (3)

Never give up

In 1981, I left the security of the federal government. I had a dream for a national Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Placing these names on Washington's Mall became was an personal obsession. This was my mission above all else in life.

By Jan Scruggs | June 21, 2010; 06:32 PM ET | Comments (1)

Ideas are enduring

The Tea Party movement's message -- and votes -- cannot be ignored. We shall see about the staying power of this political movement.

By Jan Scruggs | June 17, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Character counts

Youngsters are watching these athletes, and imitating them. So their character, or lack thereof, is of consequence.

By Jan Scruggs | June 10, 2010; 10:51 PM ET | Comments (1)

Much work, and reward

It is certainly worth sticking it out with a real life partner who understands and appreciates you despite one's failings.

By Jan Scruggs | June 7, 2010; 09:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Learn from failure

I am known as a person who simply does not quit. I learn from my failures, then I regroup and change tactics.

By Jan Scruggs | June 3, 2010; 02:20 PM ET | Comments (0)

Thinking of others

From Concord Green to Afghanistan, some of our best citizens illustrated the values of courage, honor and sacrifice. Because of them, people like Steve Strasberg can enjoy a wonderful life in a nation that has freedom and democracy.

By Jan Scruggs | May 30, 2010; 05:42 PM ET | Comments (0)

Out with the old

There's a general sense of floating anger and an anti-incumbent mood. It's a great time to be an upstart politician calling for 'change.'

By Jan Scruggs | May 23, 2010; 11:24 PM ET | Comments (0)

No shouting needed

Laura Bush was a great asset to the nation and certainly to her beleaguered husband.

By Jan Scruggs | May 17, 2010; 04:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Nicer than they look?

I recently watched some TV coverage of legislators in Taiwan and the Ukraine throwing punches at one another. So things could always be worse.

By Jan Scruggs | May 13, 2010; 12:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

Good parents/popular parents

Trying to be your kids' 'buddy' will not help you instill values like the importance of academic success and moral behavior.

By Jan Scruggs | May 10, 2010; 03:03 PM ET | Comments (5)

Where's the passion?

Social movements today don't seem to have the organization or passion that they did back in Dorothy Height's era. Let's face it -- online protests don't have the same impact as the marches of the 1960s.

By Jan Scruggs | May 6, 2010; 04:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Ethics always matter

Does the little guy have a chance? I certainly hope so, because these are the people in our society who do the most good, without always thinking of themselves first.

By Jan Scruggs | May 3, 2010; 11:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

A vital balance

If Schulz had excelled in all sports and been ruggedly handsome, would he have been able to create his daily contribution to our culture?

By Jan Scruggs | April 29, 2010; 07:47 PM ET | Comments (1)

Driven to succeed

Have you ever noticed that cabs are almost always American cars? They're sturdy, and can endure the stop-and-go traffic.

By Jan Scruggs | April 26, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

Flaunt it if you want to

There are as many ways of coping with the 'embarrassment of riches' as there are personalities.

By Jan Scruggs | April 22, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Accept only victory

Losing year after year often happens because the same people decide year after year that 'business as usual' is acceptable.

By Jan Scruggs | April 19, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

No mandates

Of course, vacations are helpful to all of us. But you can't force someone to relax.

By Jan Scruggs | April 15, 2010; 02:41 PM ET | Comments (0)

15 seconds of fame

The kid will have nice college fund. But I think David Devore will soon find out that unless he is a marketing prodigy, the oil has been pumped from this gusher.

By Jan Scruggs | April 12, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

First, face the facts

The Church must regain trust by putting the bad news on the table, taking responsibility, answering questions and then, finally, moving on.

By Jan Scruggs | April 7, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

A factor in 2010 races

Palin knows exactly what to say to bring a crowd to its feet. She also has the extraordinary ability to make her critics' blood boil over. She's a real factor in this year's elections.

By Jan Scruggs | April 1, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

No accidents

The good news about the Arenas situation is that at least there is some dialogue with NBA players about the huge inadvisability of illegally carrying firearms and the financial consequences of doing so.

By Jan Scruggs | March 28, 2010; 08:41 PM ET | Comments (2)


Take a minute to consider the daily problem faced by Fox News broadcasters. They need an issue that will rile them up. They need to work up enough indignation to be entertaining to millions of people.

By Jan Scruggs | March 23, 2010; 10:44 AM ET | Comments (2)

Not everyone can recover

Rehabilitation is not always an option. Sometimes an offender just needs to go away.

By Jan Scruggs | March 11, 2010; 03:56 PM ET | Comments (4)

A too 'social' secretary

The people who have performed best as social secretary have names you probably would not recognize. They were exceptional people who understood how to manage the complexities of the job.

By Jan Scruggs | March 8, 2010; 03:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

Comedy is a competitive sport

The days of a Johnny Carson are not necessarily gone. Network TV has bigger budgets and better writers, producers and performers.

By Jan Scruggs | March 4, 2010; 10:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Toyota can bounce back

Johnson & Johnson, the maker of Tylenol, managed to rebound quickly from its crisis. How? The company was honest with the public and it staged a massive recall. It also launched a huge campaign to restore public confidence.

By Jan Scruggs | March 1, 2010; 04:18 PM ET | Comments (1)

Nothing compares

Bronze is not the same as silver, and silver is not the same as gold, as I'm sure victorious American skier Bode Miller will be happy to explain. He's won all three.

By Jan Scruggs | February 25, 2010; 12:04 AM ET | Comments (1)

An underdog win gives us hope

It is human nature for us to want the underdogs to win amazing victories against stronger opponents in sports or other endeavors. It gives us hope--if this athlete or politician or business owner or performer can succeed in spite of overwhelming odds, maybe we, too, can overcome the challenges in our own lives.

By Jan Scruggs | February 19, 2010; 09:26 AM ET | Comments (2)

Merely a hiatus

Could the Kennedy political dynasty be coming to an end with Patrick Kennedy moving on to other pursuits? I would argue that this is merely a hiatus. In a family known for its commitment to public service, it is likely we have not seen the last Kennedy hold office.

By Jan Scruggs | February 18, 2010; 12:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Sacrificing for a dream

In our normal lives, it is good to have balance, but when a person is trying to achieve the extraordinary, extraordinary measures are often necessary.

By Jan Scruggs | February 15, 2010; 06:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

Golden oldies

I suspect that The Who have not sustained their success as much as they have merely replayed their hits from yesteryear. And there's nothing wrong with that.

By Jan Scruggs | February 11, 2010; 12:01 AM ET | Comments (1)

More than tradition

Even as the pageant is becoming outmoded in an era when measured are measured by achievements rather than by looks, the pageant satisfies a need we have in this country for positive role models and for entertainment.

By Jan Scruggs | February 8, 2010; 12:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

A motivator like no other

Jobs' business acumen is certainly noteworthy and admirable, but his special talent is motivation. It has been said that Steve Jobs can push you to create quality like no one can.

By Jan Scruggs | February 4, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Ability wins the day

At this point in America's history, a person's abilities as a leader, campaigner and strategist will win the day.Race and gender are less relevant than ever -- thankfully.

By Jan Scruggs | January 28, 2010; 12:04 AM ET | Comments (1)

Results, not intentions

If Wyclef Jean wants to help the people of Haiti, he needs to keep his "day job" as a musician and allow the Red Cross and UNICEF to do what they do best.

By Jan Scruggs | January 21, 2010; 12:01 AM ET | Comments (1)

Passion and pride

As a young man I once had a passion for being a soldier and am proud to have served. Now, today in Vietnam, I have appreciation for the opportunity to serve our nation again

By Jan Scruggs | January 11, 2010; 08:45 PM ET | Comments (1)

Failure as motivation

No matter your profession, you should be engaged in it full tilt. You will probably fail from time to time. That is only natural. It is only if you do nothing that you will never fail.

By Jan Scruggs | January 7, 2010; 03:58 PM ET | Comments (1)

The long and short of it

If you feel challenged by your height, take heart: There is hope, and well as plenty of role models for success.

By Jan Scruggs | January 4, 2010; 04:53 PM ET | Comments (3)

No competition

Santa raises the spirits of the young with hope for gifts and fun. For those of us who are older, Santa brings us fond memories of our childhoods -- when we went to bed, awaiting his bounty.

By Jan Scruggs | December 23, 2009; 08:27 AM ET | Comments (0)

Coming close

I know what it is like to come close and have nothing to show for it -- except experience and the determination to win next time.

By Jan Scruggs | December 10, 2009; 01:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

What really matters

I hope that, in spite of the slim attention true achievement sometimes garners, children realize what really matters.

By Jan Scruggs | December 3, 2009; 12:22 PM ET | Comments (0)

A long wait ...

Her success is a combination of talent, personality, risk-taking and just plain being in the right place at the right time.

By Jan Scruggs | November 30, 2009; 03:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

Surviving war

Anyone who has ever served in our armed forces in wartime has survived terrible circumstances.

By Jan Scruggs | November 20, 2009; 02:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Counting cards

Life can be like a game of chance: We are all counting cards and gauging people as we present proposals and work on business deals.

By Jan Scruggs | November 13, 2009; 02:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Rocky Bleier: Success begets success

Rocky Bleier is someone who believed so strongly in his own success that it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Success gives us all confidence that we can struggle and succeed again

By Jan Scruggs | November 5, 2009; 06:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Helping and inspiring others

Success is not just measured by how we acquire money, but also by how we give it away -- and how we give of ourselves in the process.

By Jan Scruggs | November 2, 2009; 02:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

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