Ceremonies at The Wall

Memorial Day 2019 RSVP

Each year on Memorial Day, thousands of veterans and their families congregate at The Wall to remember and to honor those who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces. On these special days, prominent Americans from all walks of life come to the Memorial to deliver thoughtful and patriotic speeches.

Nine service members were repatriated in 2018 and those service members will be officially welcomed home at the Memorial Day ceremony at The Wall.

Date and Time: May 27, 2019 at 1 pm

Location: Vietnam Veterans Memorial – Washington, DC [map]

Memorial Day 2019

Keynote Speakers


Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Sharon Bannister, U.S. Air Force

Gold Star Daughter of U.S. Air Force Capt. Stephen Rusch

Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Sharon Bannister is the Deputy Assistant Director, Education and Training, Defense Health Agency, Defense Health Headquarters, Falls Church, Virginia. She directs the joint development and sustainment of the Department of Defense medical training initiatives and academic policy, leading 509 staff across two regions with an annual operating budget of $61.5 million. She is directly responsible for the three medical institutes that graduate over 28,000 enlisted medical personnel annually, provide combat trauma and joint medical operations training to over 260K DoD personnel, and provide leadership training opportunities for approximately 10,000 current leaders of military healthcare organizations.

Additionally, as the Assistant Surgeon General for Dental Services, the general provides policy and operational advice to the Air Force Surgeon General on matters involving the dental practice of 1,000 dentists and 2,500 technicians.





Rebecca Rusch, Athlete, Author, Adventurer, CEO

Gold Star Daughter of U.S. Air Force Capt. Stephen Rusch

Rebecca Rusch is the Queen of Pain with a heart of gold. It doesn’t matter if she is on an epic expedition like riding her bike up Africa’s legendary Mt. Kilimanjaro, competing in a race, or teaching at a #JoinTheRusch RUSCH Academy, she inspires people to be their best with the energy, positivity and passion to whatever challenge she meets. Through Red Bull Media House in 2017, Rebecca released an Emmy award winning feature film, Blood Road, which followed her personal journey along the 1,800 kilometer Ho Chi Minh Trail. A story that resonates with people and motivates them to do and be good.

As a 25 year (and counting) professional athlete, the 7x World Champion is always seeking new skills and ways to test her own limits breaking boundaries and records in sports and expeditions. Techniques she shares and that can be applied to everyday life whether for personal or professional enrichment.

Rebecca is recognized for being a trailblazer and consistently demonstrates one of her core values – with risk there is great reward. Her impact is felt everywhere from redefining team dynamics of adventure racing to first female ascent rock climbing El Capitan in Yosemite, river boarding 300 miles of the entire Grand Canyon in 18 days, and giving men a run for their money in endurance mountain bike racing in events like the Leadville 100 and Dirty Kanza. But her work extends far beyond the start line. Rebecca is CEO of Rusch Ventures, her company that oversees a network of business assets including Rusch’s signature Rebecca’s Private Idaho gravel bike event, Rusch Academy’s outdoor camps, and her epic travel adventure MTB Lao. She is also a best selling author of, Rusch to Glory, a world renowned motivational speaker, and firefighter.

Activism and making a difference are important to Rebecca. She recently launched the Be Good Foundation, a non-profit organization, which supports inclusivity, unexploded bombs (UXO) clearance in Lao, and preservation of public lands through personal growth and outdoor exploration.

To date she has raised awareness over $500,000 for various local, national and global charities.

Memorial Day 2019

Women's Memorial Speaker

Edie Meeks

Edie Meeks served in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps from 1968 – 1970.  During her time in Vietnam, she was stationed at the 3rd Field Hospital in Saigon, and the 71st Evac Hospital in Pleiku.

She currently serves on the Board of Directors National Purple Heart Hall of Honor,  Congressman Maloney’s Veterans Committee and the Pfc. Joseph P Dwyer Vet-to-Vet Women’s Program. She previously served for 15 distinguished years on the Board of Directors Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation.

Meeks is also a member of Rolling Thunder – New York Chapter 3, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of America and Veterans for Peace