National WWII Memorial Dedication Plans Announced; Ceremony Set for May 29, 2004

Smithsonian, Washington National Cathedral and Military Performing Units to

Participate in Four-Day 'Tribute to a Generation'

May 26, 2003, 01:00 ET from American Battle Monuments Commission

    WASHINGTON, May 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Battle Monuments
 Commission (ABMC) used a Memorial Day setting at the National World War II
 Memorial construction site to announce its official dedication events for the
 long-awaited memorial.
     The four-day Tribute to a Generation celebration will run over Memorial
 Day weekend 2004, May 27 - 30.  The formal dedication is set for Saturday
 afternoon, May 29, 2004.
     The announcement was made by ABMC Chairman General P.X. Kelley, USMC
 (retired), before a group of Veterans Service Organization representatives who
 marked the 12-month countdown to dedication by gathering to remember the
 millions of WWII veterans who will not see their memorial completed.
     Of 16 million who served during the war, fewer than four million are
 expected to be alive in May 2004.
     "We remember today the gallant WWII veterans who gave their lives for
 freedom, and the millions who have died since," General Kelley said.  "We look
 forward to gathering here in 12 months, with their comrades-in-arms, to
 dedicate America's memorial tribute to our WWII generation."
     The Smithsonian Institution, the Washington National Cathedral, and Armed
 Forces ceremonial and musical units will participate in ABMC's official
 dedication events.
     Scheduled events include:
     Dedication Ceremony
     The memorial will be formally dedicated on Saturday, May 29, at 2 p.m.
 Pre-ceremony entertainment will include live music, video images of the
 wartime era, and historical information about the memorial.  The ceremony will
 recognize the addition of the memorial to the National Mall area as a unit of
 the National Park System, and acknowledge the service and sacrifice of the
 WWII generation.
     WWII Reunion
     The Smithsonian Institution will produce a National World War II Reunion
 on the Mall.  The four-day event (May 27-30) will provide a venue for members
 of the WWII generation to gather together, meet former comrades, record oral
 histories, and enjoy 1940's music and WWII equipment displays.  The open-air
 and tented attractions will be exhibited from late morning to early evening
 and will be open to the public at no charge.  The reunion will educate all
 generations on the importance of WWII to our nation.
     Veterans Salute
     ABMC will present a "Salute to WWII Veterans" at the MCI Center, featuring
 Armed Forces personnel in a musical and narrative tribute to veterans.  This
 event will be free and open to the public.  Three performances are planned:
 afternoon matinee and evening shows on Friday, May 28, and an evening
 performance on Saturday, May 29.
     Memorial Service
     An interfaith memorial service is set for Saturday, May 29, at 10 a.m. at
 the Washington National Cathedral.  The service will celebrate the dedication
 of the memorial and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  Military
 and civilian clergy, as well as WWII dignitaries, are expected to participate.
     Plans also are underway for a regional, summer-long celebration honoring
 the WWII generation featuring a variety of cultural activities, including
 performances, exhibits, lectures and films.  Details are expected later this
     Specific arrangements for these events and other activities associated
 with the dedication will be made available on the memorial web site
 ( and toll free number (1-800-639-4992) as they are
     Construction of the memorial began in September 2001.  The memorial is on
 schedule to open to the public in early April 2004.

SOURCE American Battle Monuments Commission