Ceremonies at The Wall

Memorial Day 2021

2021 Memorial Day Observance at The Wall

You can still watch the ceremony here on our website or on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VietnamVeteransMemorialFund

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Date and Time: May 31, 2021 at 1 pm

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

Keynote Address by Karl Marlantes, Vietnam veteran and Author

Women’s Memorial Speaker: Nancy George Wilson, LT, U.S. Nurse Corps, USS REPOSE (AH-16), Vietnam, 68-69

View the official ceremony program here = 2021 Memorial Day Program

2021 Memorial Day

Ceremony Program

View the ceremony program below or  here = 2021 Memorial Day Program

Keynote Speaker

Karl Marlantes


Karl Marlantes

Photo by Devon Marlantes

Karl Marlantes

Author and Vietnam War veteran

Karl Marlantes is the bestselling author of Matterhorn, What It Is Like to Go to War, and Deep River.  Marlantes graduated from Yale University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.  Marlantes left after one semester at Oxford to join active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps as an infantry officer. He served during the Vietnam War with 1st Battalion, 4th Marines from October 1968 to October 1969, and was awarded the Navy Cross for action in Vietnam in which he led an assault on a hilltop bunker complex. He also served as an aerial observer while in Vietnam. Marlantes was also awarded a Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts, and 10 Air Medals.


Women's Memorial Speaker

Nancy George Wilson

Nancy was a LT in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps from 1964-1969. She made the decision to join the Navy because she wanted to support her country by supporting the military who were being drafted and facing dire circumstances. Unlike the men, all the women who served in Vietnam volunteered. Nancy served stateside at Great Lakes Naval Hospital and Corpus Christi Naval Hospital. From February 1968 to February 1969, she served on the USS REPOSE (AH-16) which was assigned to the I Corps area.

That twelve-month period had the heaviest casualties of the war. There were periods when the fighting was more intense that there were as many as 1,000 patients on board. The 29 nurses were grateful that they had corpsmen to work with them. Nancy’s primary area was orthopedics, but she also covered the two wards for women and children, the burn ward and ENT. One way to feel a break from the stress of war was to play with these children. They had major health issues not injuries and the goal was to give them a chance toward a normal life. Everyone on board, ship’s company and hospital company recognized the goal of assisting patients We all shared the need for a laugh. Nancy realized that she sometimes did not meet military decorum, which gave the crew a laugh. More than once she responded to salutes with her usual “Howdy ya’ll.” That was not intentional. That was Texas.

Following active duty, Nancy earned a Master’s degree in Nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner certification. The experience she had – especially on the REPOSE – provided her with the experience and motivation to continue her nursing career. She felt fortunate to join the Nurse Practitioner movement in its infancy and followed the growth and acceptance by patients and health care providers. As the world changed after the fall of Saigon, Nancy’s family sponsored two Vietnamese sisters who had managed to escape. They remain a vital part of her family. Retirement was finally accomplished after a 54-year nursing career – but she will never quit nursing. She is most proud of her five children and ten grandchildren. They make her life worthwhile.


Help Support Memorial Day


Roll Call of Remembrance

Alisha from MD is remembering:

PFC Garfield Langhorn & CPL Irvin Banks

“I never had the chance to get to know them, they were both my cousins that never came back home. They does heroes on the battlefield.”


Nancy from PA is remembering:

Walter Edward Barnes

“He is my brother and I want his memory to live on.  I have introduced him to my grandchildren through pictures and his medals and the flag that was draped over his casket.  He was my only sibling and means so much to me.  I still so very much miss and love him.  He was so very brave and died trying to save others being air lifted out that were injured.  He put himself in the line of fire to save others.”


William from MD is remembering:

John James Blanton

“He was my protector.  I was a small weak kid.  My big brother .”


Fredrick from KS is remembering:

AT1 Kenneth L. Crist

“’He remembered summers on the farm when it was so hot they got baked potatoes right out of the ground’.  He was a great leader and role model.”


Mary Victoria Burr from VA is remembering:

John Carlton Burr:  In Memory Inductee — 06/14/2012

“We are all proud to attend and be among those allowed to honor Memorial Day’s in-person Ceremony for 2021. We represent the countless military families and loved ones, who cannot attend this year’s ceremony in-person due to pandemic safety precautions. Proudly, we also represent the many young men and women of my generation — who like my best friend and big brother, John Carlton Burr — gave the ultimate sacrifice for our great nation in the Vietnam War.  We gather to honor those countless loved ones, who will never attend in person themselves”


Edward ‘Fingers’ from SC is remembering:

Timothy Bodden

“Panel 21 E Line 42 06/03/1967”


Tommy from TX is remembering:

WO-1 William Warren Breece

“William Warren Breece Silverstar, December 5, 1968 DIA LOH pilot. Shut down by Vietnamese caught on fire as he attacked them in a rice field. My high school buddy forever his family we stay in contact with Colin James BREECE his brother of Orono Maine And his family. Warren‘s mom Mrs. BREECE took care of us for 40 or 50 years after Warren‘s death. Warren‘s death has made us better patriots and taught me how to respect and succeed in my 43 years of US government service.  fellow pilot Roy Ferguson is also a true hero in this incident and we remember his dedicated many years of public service.  Please contact me [email protected] as keeping in touch is important.”


John from IN is remembering:

Wieland C. Norris



Sheila from CA is remembering:

Christopher Anthony Souza

“He was my uncle and died in 1969. He was a loving son, brother and uncle. As well as friends to all. He is missed! I love you even though I was 2 when you died. Your loving niece Sheila”


Lauren from AZ is remembering:

WO 1 Wilfred F. Schmidt Jr.

“He and my youngest brother went through High school together. I have 3 brothers, a friend 0f one of us was a friend to all 4 of us.”


Melissa from PA is remembering:

Lawrence Berneski

“I never had the chance to meet you, Uncle Larry but you live on in each and every one of us. Hug gramma Josephine for me!”


Rudy from OK is remembering:

Ross Edward Mandeville

“I’ll never forget you Brother !”


Judy Kerr from GA is remembering:

SGT James C. Kerr

“My brother. My Hero. !!! I love you and miss you so much.”


Eugene from NC is remembering:

Jimmy Davis

“Was hurt when his platoon was overran the first week in the Nam 1966.”


Bill from CA is remembering:

Daniel Busse



Ken from MD is remembering:

PFC Ronald Charles Bakewell   50W Line 48

“PFC Bakewell was killed in action in Quang Tri province, South Vietnam. We still miss you, my brother. Mom and Dad should be with you now. I will do what I can so that you are not forgotten. You served your country well.”


Mary from WV is remembering:

Jim Maguire  ( spouse )

“We all miss you so much ! Please know you’re in our hearts and soles forever until we can be together once again !!! We love you and thank you for your great sacrifice !!  wife Mary , son Bill and grandchildren and great grandchild”


Patricia from VA is remembering: Col. Charles S. Rowley

“My Dad and the AdLib crew will always be remembered for their sacrifices for our country and their service in the US Air Force.  MIA on April 22, 1970 in Laos. Forever loved, honored and respected!”


James from DC is remembering:

Michael Cuneen 6E/84

“Mike and I graduated from the same Recruit Training Class in Jan. 1964 at P.I. and he died in April 1966 in ‘Nam while performing his duties as an ‘Ontos’ Cmdr near Hill 55. It was a ‘friendly fire’ situation. A wonderful person whose life was cut short.”


Jennifet from CA is remembering:

Luis Gutierrez

“Dad was proud to have served this country, a true patriot. For this reason we are honored to carry his legacy. To support the military and be proud to live in this wonderful country. We love you, Dad and we miss you so very much.”


Deb from OH is remembering:

My father Alva “Sonny”Clifford Pritt

“My father was a hard worker and well known and loved by many. He is missed by all of us.”


Dale from AK is remembering:

Warren H Ralya JR CPL- USMC, Fred A Gassman SGT-5SFG, Robert E Brinckmann


Janice from PA is remembering:

L/Cpl William H Shultz USMC

“This was my big brother who was killed 5/15/69 at the age of 19. I was 16 at the time. He was a wonderful brother and I still miss him and often wonder what he would be like today.”


Bruce from CA is remembering:

Algernon Paul Kaakimaka, Jr.

“Classmate – Roosevelt High School,  Honolulu, Hawaii  Class of 1966.”


Rhonda from MO is remembering:

Micheal DWayn Walker

“My daddy. Thank you for your protection. Love you so much.”


Sharon from IN is remembering:

2nd Lt Stephen P. Muller, USMC

“You are always close in thought.”


Betty from WI is remembering:

GSARG Richard William Fischer

“We went to Madison East High School together and he was a caring life guard.”


Brenda from NC is remembering:

James Ernest Johnson

“James service in Vietnam he died in 2008 of heart problem that was caused by Agent Orange. He was a great man”


Patricia from AZ is remembering:

SFC Marshall E Robertson KIA 8/26/1969

“To my father. Brave, Dedicated Soldier who gave all for his country. But mostly an exceptional father who was gone too soon, leaving behind four adoring children.”


James from MS is remembering:

Danny Foley and Clyde Davidson


Joyce from FL is remembering:

William V Frederick

“My husband, MIA 5 July 1967, declared Kia 1978. Forever in my heart, will never forget”


florence from AZ is remembering:

Melvin C. Vinson

“My Husband of 48 years, 4 tours in Vietnam. 1947-2017”


Kenneth from NY is remembering:

To many to say

“Some I grow up with. and others I met and served with in Basic Training though Vietnam”


Dawn from FL is remembering:

Howard C. Wendell  Jr.

“One of my brothers.  He was the oldest boy. Came back from Vietnam  physically,  then took his own life 6/6/1976.”


Heather from OH is remembering:

Donald W. Berg Sr.

“Honorable soldier, father, and role model.”


John from NJ is remembering:

Richard Feehery

“Rich was the brother to seven siblings.(3brothers/ 4 sisters) He was KIA 54 years ago this coming Friday May 21,1967. He loved his Philadelphia sport teams especially the Phillies. He served his Church as an altar boy. He was my older brother by 14 months who I always looked up too. Had he lived he would have done great things. I’m sure God has him doing great things since he called him to heaven. I know he was at the gate when our Mother and Father joined him in heaven.A true hero who will never be forgotten.”


Suzanne from NY is remembering:

Michael Stanley Pikula

“A kind, generous, loving husband, father, friend. Always in our hearts.”


Tonya from VA is remembering:

Thomas Barrow

“Loving father, grandfather and great grandfather. Passed due to cancer he got because of Agent Orange”


Susan from IN is remembering:

SSG Dale K Wingate

“My husband, Dale was the type of man who wanted no accolades or acknowledgment for his service. Whenever anyone would thank him for his service he always responded, ‘It was my duty and honor.’ He served as an infantryman with the 101 Airborne Division, in the 1/502nd during the Vietnam War.  I would like to honor him & all those who have passed before & after him.  To quote another person; ‘We don’t know them all, but we owe them all’”


James from TX is remembering:

Colonel James Dennany

“On Memorial Day, I remember My Father”


william from MD is remembering:

George Dorchak KIA 9/7/68, Albert Wall KIA 6/19/69

“Served with me in Vietnam. Both men, invited me to be in their weddings. RIP.”


Darlene from PA is remembering:

Cmsgt Earl C. Willoughby

“Dad, we will always remember your get it done attitude and amazing laugh.  We miss you every day.  Love You!!!”


John from NE is remembering:

Thomas A Long

“The night you died … I cried. Your death was for some kind of reason, I wish I could tell you what it was. Friendly fire is not the way any of us thought we would go.”


Lois from TX is remembering:

Dennis W Valusek

“Nearly 51 years ago you gave this Country the  Ultimate sacrifice You’ll never be forgotten Loved to day as yesterday Your Sister Lois”


Nicholas from PA is remembering:

Jay B. Gilpin

“Jay and I went to high school together and he dropped out or quit after our junior year in 1968. Since he was held back 2 years in school he was drafted in August 1968 at the age of 19. He was killed in action on March 10, 1969 exactly 3 months before he would have graduated. Being overwhelmed with his death I was unable to attend his funeral and have regretted it for the past 52 years.”