WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The New Zealand Embassy kicked-off the Veterans Day weekend in Washington, D.C. with its third tribute to America's armed forces on November 9, 2012. The benefit, featuring famed tenor Anthony Kearns and co-hosted by the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, honoured two premier U.S. military charities, the USO and the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Fund (VVMF).
The Rt Hon Mike Moore, New Zealand Ambassador to the United States, welcomed the Embassy's distinguished guests. Among those attending were members of the U.S. military, members of the federal U.S. Cabinet and Congressional staff and liaisons, Pentagon officials, New Zealand military and staff, foreign dignitaries, business leaders, and others.
"New Zealanders recognize America's servicemen and women for the service and sacrifices particularly in 2012, which marks the 70th anniversary of the US military arrival to New Zealand during World War II. We are pleased to have hosted another successful fundraising event to benefit military members, veterans, and their families through the USO and the VVMF," said Ambassador Moore.
Mr. Kearns said, "I was pleased to return to the New Zealand Embassy and sing for two wonderful military causes. I'm in great debt to the United States and its armed forces for the opportunities and freedoms that I enjoy as an entertainer in this country. Lending my voice to inspire U.S. service members is my way of giving back." Past performers for the USO include the legendary Bob Hope, Robin Williams, Jon Stewart, Kelli Pickler, Jordin Sparks, and Toby Keith.
"Once again this event added an entertaining addition to our Veterans Day week activities. We're proud of the great relationship we have had over the years with Mr. Kearns, the New Zealand people and our friends at the USO. We look forward to our continued partnership, with their support, for the Education Center at the Wall," VVMF Founder and President Jan Scruggs said.
"For America's wounded, ill and injured troops who are returning home, USO's Operation Enduring Care will help restore lives and sustain hope," said USO National Board Member Bob Martinez, a Vietnam Veteran and producer of "The Long Way Home" video series. "The New Zealand Embassy's generous support for this very special evening will make it possible for our troops and their families to have a promising future."The "Kiwis" were America's steadfast allies during the Vietnam War – sending 3,500 New Zealand heroes to serve their country and the U.S., including 37 lost and nearly 200 wounded.
David Walker, president and CEO of the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes said, "We're proud of our nation's Veterans. And [there's] no better way to express that fact than by standing alongside the best organizations in tipping our hats to say thanks and that we salute you."
Kearns' performance, with accompanist Jon Laird, included Irish ballads such as: "Down by the Salley Gardens," "How Are Things in Glocca Morra," "Red is the Rose," "Kitty Me Love," and the beloved, "Danny Boy." Other classics included "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables," from Les Miserables; the French songs, "La Vie en Rose," and "Plaisir d'Amour"; the famous Mexican song, "Granada"; and "Roses of Picardy," a famous ballad of World War I, written by Frederic Weatherly and set to music by Haydn Wood. Kearns also performed "The National Anthem," with "God Bless America" as the grand finale.
Mr. Kearns is the youngest member of the singing phenomenon, The Irish Tenors. A respected ambassador of Ireland to the world, he frequently donates his talent to honor U.S. armed forces. On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2012, Kearns appeared in the PBS Special, "America's Veterans: A Musical Tribute" with the U.S. Air Force Band on Maryland Public Television. (Watch online: http://video.mpt.tv/video/2301844342)
New Zealand and the United States share a deep and abiding interest in maintaining peace, prosperity, and regional stability. New Zealand recalls the long history of shared U.S. and New Zealand sacrifice in battle, and honours those whom have borne that sacrifice.
Event sponsors included Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, Martinez Keystone Properties, LLC, American Ireland Fund Young Leaders, The Wharton Club of DC, Kirsten Fedewa & Assoc., LLC, and The Doyle Collection.
For information about the Embassy of New Zealand, contact Gina Anderson at 202.328.4876 or visit www.nzembassy.com/usa.
For more information about the USO, contact Gayle Fishel at 703-908-6433 or visit www.uso.org.
For information about the VVMF, contact Lee Allen at 202.393.0090 ext. 109 or visit www.vvmf.org.
SOURCE American Veterans Center and Kirsten Fedewa and Associates, LLC (on behalf of Mr. Anthony Kearns)