Memorial Day Observance at The Wall 2019

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

Washington, D.C. On Monday, May 27 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. Nine service members were repatriated in 2018 and those service members will be officially welcomed home at the ceremony. The event is free and open to the public.

Two Gold Star Daughters will provide the keynote remarks. Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Sharon Bannister, U.S. Air Force and Rebecca Rusch – athlete, author, adventurer, CEO are the daughters of U.S. Air Force Capt. Stephen Rusch (Panel 2W, Line 113).

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.

Rebecca Rusch is CEO of Rusch Ventures, a best-selling author of Rusch to Glory, a world- renowned motivational speaker, and firefighter.  Through Red Bull Media House in 2017, Rusch released an Emmy award-winning feature film, Blood Road, which followed her personal journey along the 1,800 kilometer Ho Chi Minh Trail.

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. No new names were added to The Wall this year.

Beside each name on The Wall is a symbol designating status. The diamond symbol denotes that the service member is known dead or presumed dead. The cross symbol denotes that a service member was missing or prisoner status when The Wall was built in 1982 and remain unaccounted for today. When a service member is repatriated, the diamond is superimposed over the cross. In 2018, nine service members were repatriated and those service members will be officially welcomed home at the ceremony.

These nine service members were repatriated in 2018:

  • Richard A. Kibbey; COL; USAF; Delmar, NY; Panel 14E, Line 129
  • Larry R. Kilpatrick; LCDR; USN; Stone Mountain, Georgia; Panel 1W, Line 45
  • Marshall F. Kipina; SSGT; USA; Calumet, Mich.; Panel 9E, Line 20
  • Richard C. Lannom; LT; USN; Union City, Tenn.; Panel 42E, Line 19
  • Frederic M. Mellor; LTC; USAF; Cranston, RI; Panel 2E, Line 52
  • James B. Mills; LCDR; USN; Bakersfield, Calif.; Panel 10E, Line 130
  • Robert G. Nopp; LTC; USA; Salem, Ore.; Panel 9E, Line 20
  • Richard W. Podell; CAPT; USAF; Winamac, Ind.; Panel 21E, Line 80
  • Peter J. Stewart; COL; USAF; Winter Haven, Fla.; Panel 6E, Line 12

Learn more about each of these service members on their Wall of Faces pages at:

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

View the rules for the media for covering an event at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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. To learn more about VVMF, visit or call 202-393-0090


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Contact:  Heidi Zimmerman

 Phone: 202-765-3773

    [email protected]