Memorial Day ceremony at The Wall to honor America’s service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice

For Immediate Release:
May 16, 2017

Memorial Day ceremony at The Wall to honor America’s service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice
Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, co-directors of The Vietnam War on PBS, to deliver keynote remarks

Washington, D.C. – On Monday, May 29 at 1 p.m., the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) and the National Park Service (NPS) will host the annual Memorial Day Observance at The Wall, during which changes to The Wall will be commemorated and all members of America’s armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice will be honored. The event is free and open to the public. 

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, co-directors of The Vietnam War on PBS, will deliver the keynote remarks. Burns and Novick worked on their film, The Vietnam War, for 10 years and the result is a 10-part, 18-hour series that will air beginning on September 17, 2017 on PBS stations across the country.  Burns and Novick's previous work together includes Prohibition, The War, Frank Lloyd Wright, Baseball, Jazz and The Civil War.  To learn more about the film visit,

Each spring, VVMF works with the Department of Defense to make sure The Wall is accurate. Names are added for those service members who have met the Department of Defense criteria for addition to The Wall, having sustained wounds in Vietnam from which they eventually perished. Those service members who in the last year were returned or accounted for have their statuses changed from MIA to KIA. 

The names of three American service members have been engraved on the black granite walls of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial over the last week. These additions will bring the total number of names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to 58,318 men and women who were killed or who remain missing in action. 

These three service members will join 58,315 others who lost their lives or remain missing in action as a result of combat in Vietnam:


  • Kenneth R. McGuire; CPL, USMC; Rib Lake, Wisc.; Panel 34W, Line 42
  • John T. Whitson; SGT, USA; Huntsville, Texas; Panel 32W, Line 58
  • Edward L. Wilmers; SGT, USA; Lapeer, Mich.; Panel 62E, Line 7

Beside each name on The Wall is a symbol designating status. The diamond symbol denotes confirmed death. The cross represents missing in action. When a service member’s remains are returned or accounted for, the diamond is superimposed over the cross. In 2016, five service members who previously were missing were accounted for and those service members will be officially welcomed home at the ceremony. 

These five service members were accounted for in 2016:

•    Alan L. Boyer; SFC, USA; Missoula, Mont.; Panel 46E, Line 52
•    William E. Campbell; COL, USAF; McAllen, Texas; Panel 33W, Line 12
•    Frederick P. Crosby; LCDR, USN; Orlando, Fla.; Panel 1E, Line 129
•    Dean A. Klenda; MAJ, USAF; Marion, Kansas; Panel 2E, Line 85
•    Patrick H. Wood; COL, USAF; Kansas City, Mo.; Panel 15E, Line 1

The Department of Defense sets the criteria for and makes decisions about whose names are eligible for inscription on The Wall. VVMF pays for the name additions and status changes, and works with the National Park Service to ensure long-term preservation and maintenance of The Wall.

About the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) is the nonprofit organization that founded the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) in Washington, D.C. in 1982. VVMF continues to lead the way in paying tribute to our nation’s Vietnam veterans and their families. VVMF’s mission is to honor and preserve the legacy of service in America and educate all generations about the impact of the Vietnam War and era.

VVMF is in the fundraising stages to build the Education Center at The Wall. The Center will be an interactive learning facility on the National Mall where our military heroes' stories and sacrifice will never be forgotten. The Education Center will feature the faces and stories of the more than 58,000 men and women on The Wall and honor America's Legacy of Service, including those serving in our nation's armed forces today. Time Warner is the Lead Gift Benefactor in the campaign to build the Education Center at The Wall. To learn more about VVMF and the Education Center at The Wall, visit or call 202-393-0090

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Heidi Zimmerman
Phone: 202-765-3773