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Remembering Vietnam My War Story - Bill Nelson
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Contact: Lisa Gough
93 AMERICAN HEROES TO BE HONORED POSTHUMOUSLY
AT THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL
April 18 Ceremony Recognizes Those Not Eligible for Inclusion on The Wall
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ninety-three American heroes from the Vietnam War era will be honored posthumously on April 18 during the annual In Memory Day ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, said Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF), which hosts the event each year.
In Memory Day was created to pay tribute to the men and women who died prematurely from noncombat injuries and emotional suffering caused directly by their service in the Vietnam War, but who are not eligible to have their names inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The 13th annual In Memory Day Ceremony will be held on Monday, April 18, at 10 a.m. at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Nearly 700 family members, friends and fellow veterans will be visiting the nation’s capital to participate in this year’s event.
“In Memory Day gives us another opportunity to honor those who made sacrifices because of the Vietnam War,” said Scruggs. “It also provides a healing environment for the friends and family who sacrificed as well, as we pay tribute to these brave Americans who gave their all for their country.”
Several family members of current and past honorees will have active roles in the ceremony. The keynote speaker will be Frank Campanaro, whose father, Frank Paul Campanaro Sr., is being inducted into the In Memory Program this year.
Also offering remarks will be Jeff Dawley, who will offer his perspective as the son of a past In Memory honoree. His father, John Ernest Dawley Jr., was inducted into the In Memory Program in 2010.
Edith Owen Wallace, wife of 1996 Honoree Robert E. Owen, will lead the pledge of allegiance. And Jonathan Stilley, son of 2009 Honoree Michael Ronald Ford, will sing the national anthem.
Richard Schneider, executive director for government affairs for the Non Commissioned Officers Association of the USA, will offer welcoming remarks. NCOA has sponsored the event since 2004. Jan Scruggs will serve as master of ceremonies.
In Memory Day
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial contains the names of 58,267 men and women who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces in the Vietnam War. The Memorial’s black granite walls have always stood to remember all of the nearly 3.5 million who participated in the divisive and controversial conflict.
The Department of Defense developed specific parameters that allow only the names of service members who died of wounds suffered in combat zones to be added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The In Memory program recognizes those men and women who have died prematurely as a result of the Vietnam War, but who do not meet the DOD criteria. Many of their deaths are a result of Agent Orange exposure and emotional wounds that never healed.
During the ceremony, family members read aloud their loved ones’ names in chronological order by date of death. Following the ceremony, participants lay tributes at the base of The Wall corresponding to the honorees’ dates of service in Vietnam, so that these Vietnam veterans come to rest near those comrades with whom they served. With the addition of this year’s honorees, more than 2,000 individuals will be honored in the In Memory Honor Roll.
The Non Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA) is the sponsor of this year’s In Memory Ceremony.
NOTE: A federal government shutdown could affect the In Memory Day ceremony. VVMF will communicate any changes to current plans as soon as they are made.
Established in 1979, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., promoting healing and educating about the impact of the Vietnam War. Authorized by Congress, its most recent initiative is building the Education Center at The Wall, an underground facility near the Memorial that is designed to add faces to all the names on The Wall and tell their stories. Other Memorial Fund initiatives include educational programs for students and teachers, a traveling Wall replica that honors our nation's veterans and a humanitarian and mine-action program in Vietnam.