17th Annual Christmas Tree Ceremony Planned for Dec. 16

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) will honor veterans and active-duty military personnel during its 17th Annual Christmas Tree Ceremony at The Wall, planned for 10 a.m. on Monday, December 6, 2013.

During the ceremony, representatives of VVMF will place a Christmas tree at the apex of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Volunteers will adorn the tree with cards and ornaments hand-made by schoolchildren from around the country.

This year we are pleased to announce that Lt. Gen. Claude M. Kicklighter, USA (Ret.), and Chief Master Sgt. Jose A. LugoSantiago, USAF, will each speak at the ceremony, offering a special holiday message to those in attendance.

Lt. Gen. Claude M. Kicklighter commanded the US Army, Pacific (Western Command) from July 1989 to his retirement on 31 August 1991. In Vietnam Kicklighter served two tours of duty; from 1966-1967  with the 1st Logistical Command, and then as Assistant Chief of Staff for the 101st Airborne Division from 1970-1971. Gen. Kicklighter's awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star Medal. He now serves as the Director of the Department of Defense Vietnam 50th Anniversary Commemoration Program.

Chief Master Sgt. LugoSantiago is the Command Chief Master Sergeant for the Air Force District of Washington, headquartered at Joint Base Andrews, Md. and as such he is charged with presenting to the Commander, Air Force District of Washington, an enlisted force that is mission and combat ready.

“The Wall is a sacred place, one where visitors are directly exposed to the most noble American values of duty, honor, courage and sacrifice,” says Jan Scruggs. “This ceremony, now in its 17th year, has become a cherished part of the holidays. We are proud to show appreciation to our service men and women who have made and who are making tremendous sacrifices in the name of freedom.” 

After the ceremony, the tree and many boxes of cards and ornaments will be left at The Wall, so that visitors can read the messages and add decorations when they visit throughout the holidays.

Hand-made cards and ornaments have been contributed by these groups:

  • Girl Scout Troop 81601 of Middletown, Md.
  • John Cavallero from White Planes, N.Y.
  • Sacred Heart School from Bellevue, Wash.
  • M. Palmer from Panvers, Mass.
  • Ms. Malone’s Kindergartners
  • VVMF staff

This event was made possible by the generous donation of General David Petraeus. It is free and open to the public.