IN MEMORY CEREMONY AND COVID-19
(Updated 05/06/2021– 11:00 am EST)
2020 and 2021 In Memory Ceremony dates have been set for October 2021.
The ceremony to honor our 2020 In Memory honorees will be on Friday, October 15th.
The ceremony to honor our 2021 In Memory honorees will be on Saturday, October 16th.
When considering if you can attend a ceremony in October please keep the following in mind:
– At this time, masks are required in all areas where we would have events. Both outdoors at the ceremony and indoors for a welcome reception, on bus transportation, etc. so you should assume that you would be required to wear a mask for all functions except for when you step onto the stage to read your veteran’s name.
– It is likely we will need to limit the number of attendees. While this is not something we want to do – it may be the only way we can host an in-person ceremony. If we have to do this – the number would be two per honoree – unless guidelines are raised even higher than we anticipate and then we could potentially have more but we cannot guarantee it at this time. Note that we are NOT combining the 2020 and 2021 honoree groups into one ceremony. The ceremonies will be on two different days in order to ensure that we can have the maximum number of attendees allowed for each honoree.
– Lastly – If guidelines do not allow for VVMF to host an in-person In Memory ceremony in 2021 – we will move forward with virtual ceremonies to induct our 2020 and 2021 honorees. This is not the route we wanted to go because In Memory is a participatory ceremony but we may be out of options and the COVID guideline issue is not within our control. Please know that we promise that a final decision will be made no later than 60 days prior to the week of the ceremony in October so you can confirm your travel plans.
While we understand that this date may not work for everyone, we sincerely hope that everyone will be able to attend. Please know though – that if you cannot attend – we will still honor your loved one. A volunteer will take your honoree’s tribute to the stage and read their name. We will continue with our plans to livestream the event on our Facebook page so that you can watch from home. If you are not able to attend the ceremony the applicant will receive a mailing, after the ceremony in October, consisting of a copy of the Yearbook, the honoree’s personal Tribute Certificate, an In Memory pin and a DVD of the ceremony.
For your planning purposes – we will still be holding the optional In Memory Family Welcome Gatherings the night before each ceremony. These are ticketed events and tickets will go on sale online only at a later date. E-mail notifications will go out when tickets are on sale. There will be no activity/event on Sunday since the event is not on Father’s Day weekend.
Closer to the ceremony date everyone will be asked to officially RSVP for ceremony attendance, bus transportation, etc. This allows us to make sure we rent enough chairs for the ceremony as well as buses for transportation. Email notifications will go out closer to the ceremony date when we need this RSVP, and everyone will be asked to include the names of everyone in your party at that time.
For information on past participants please click here.
Learn more at: https://www.vvmf.org/News/COVID-19/
Host Hotel Information
Marriott Crystal Gateway
1700 Richmond Highway Arlington, VA 22202
Discounted room rate. A block of rooms has been reserved for October 14, 2021 – October 17, 2021. The special room rate of $159 for a Standard King/Double will be available until September 24, 2021 or until the group block is sold-out, whichever comes first.
Please note: In previous years the room block sold out quickly. We suggest booking your rooms as soon as you can. Also, the host hotel is the only location that the VVMF provided buses will pick up and drop off for the ceremony.
To make your reservation click the link below:
To make your reservation click the link below:
You can also call our Central Reservations at 1-800-228-9290 to book a room using the group code VVMS. If calling to make a reservation please have group code, hotel name and hotel address (listed above) ready.
When is the 2020 ceremony?
The ceremony for our 2020 honorees will be held on Friday, October 15, 2021.
When is the 2021 ceremony?
The ceremony for our 2021 honorees will be held on Saturday, October 16, 2021.
When is the 2022 ceremony?
At this time we have not set an official date for the 2022 ceremony.
Will VVMF pay for or arrange my travel to Washington, D.C.?
While we hope all family members can attend, VVMF cannot pay for or arrange your travel to Washington, D.C. We do provide bus transportation from the host hotel to and from the ceremony. Discounted hotel rate information will be available closer to the ceremony.
How is the In Memory program/ceremony funded?
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization that is supported by private donors, like you. Your donations make it possible for us to maintain this program so critical to our efforts to promote healing and education, to hold the ceremony annually and to continue honoring many more veterans’ service and sacrifice. Please consider making a donation and support the In Memory program.
How long is the ceremony?
Ceremony length depends on how many veterans are being honored each year. In 2019, we honored 534 veterans and the ceremony lasted about four hours. The ceremony begins promptly at 10:00am on Saturday morning. Plan to arrive no later than 9:45am to check in.
Will there be seating at the ceremony?
Yes, seating is provided for the ceremony. We will ask for you to RSVP to ensure we arrange for the proper number of chairs, but there is no reserved seating.
How far is it from the bus drop-off to the ceremony location?
The buses drop off about 500 feet from the ceremony.
How far away are the bathrooms?
The closest bathrooms are about 300 feet from the ceremony location.
Will there be wheelchairs available?
Although we do not provide wheelchairs, the ceremony area is typically wheelchair accessible. The ceremony is held on the grassy area and can be somewhat difficult to maneuver – especially if the ground is wet.
What is the dress code?
There is no specific dress code. Past participant attire has ranged from casual dress to church dress. We recommend that you dress for the weather. The ceremony will be held rain or shine. Should it rain, the area can become muddy. We recommend that you wear comfortable shoes that are not easily damaged.
It can be very hot and humid during the ceremony as it takes place in the open grass near the Memorial and there is limited shade. We recommend that you bring at least one bottle of water for each member of your party. Hats and sunscreen are also strongly encouraged.
Will I be reading my honorees name at the ceremony?
Yes, you have the opportunity to read your loved one’s name during the In Memory Honor Roll Call. Our Master of Ceremonies will indicate when the reading of the names will begin. When you are at the microphone, please read your loved one’s name only. You may add their relationship to you, for example, “my husband, John Doe.” Out of respect to other families, please refrain from making additional remarks. If you are unable to attend the ceremony, a volunteer will take your honoree’s tribute to the stage and read your honoree’s name. You will then be sent two copies of the personal tribute certificate and one yearbook.
What is the personal tribute certificate?
The personal tribute certificate is a 9″ x 12″ certificate created by VVMF that contains the honoree’s name, photos, date of birth, date of death, dates of service in Vietnam and branch of service.
What do I do with the personal tribute certificate?
The personal tribute certificate is yours to take home as a lasting keepsake.
Will there be a photographer?
Yes, VVMF provides a professional photographer at the ceremony. The photos will be available (about one week after the ceremony) for purchase on our website. Last year’s photos can be seen here. You will also be able to purchase additional copies of the personal tribute certificate after the ceremony.
Will this event be televised?
At this time it is not planned to have the ceremony televised, although we do plan to live stream the ceremony on our Facebook page. Please like our page to ensure you will be notified of the livestream and to stay up to date on the In Memory program.
I have seen T-shirts with honoree names on them. How do I get one?
Each year VVMF hosts a limited time sales campaign to purchase shirts that list the names of all honorees for that year. All accepted applicants will be emailed when the shirt sale is happening and will have the opportunity to purchase. Proceeds from these sales go directly towards the cost of hosting the In Memory weekend of events.
Due to the current restrictions on large gatherings in Washington, D.C., it is very likely we will have to limit the number of attendees at the October ceremonies. If so, each 2020 and 2021 honoree would be limited to no more than two attendees.
Our tradition has been to invite all past participants back every year to read their loved ones’ names. This year, we’ve had to make some tough decisions in order to still be able to host our ceremonies and we’ve made the very difficult decision to not extend an invitation to our past participants this year. As someone who has honored a loved one previously, our past participants understand the importance of being surrounded by your friends and family at the ceremony. We appreciate your understanding as to why we are giving priority to our current honorees and their families for the maximum number of attendees that will be allowed and we look forward to welcoming you back in 2022.