WASHINGTON, Nov. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) and the National Park Service will host the annual Veterans Day ceremony at The Wall to celebrate the service and honor the sacrifice of America's armed forces. Medal of Honor recipient Col. Bruce Crandall will provide the keynote remarks as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the battle of Ia Drang, the first major land battle in the Vietnam War. The ceremony will be held at The Wall on Wednesday, November 11, at 1:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
Col. Crandall, the keynote speaker, received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the battle of Ia Drang. Crandall was commanding the 1st Cavalry Division's Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion in Vietnam. On November 14, 1965, his unit was transporting soldiers to Landing Zone X-Ray in a remote spot in the Ia Drang Valley when the men on the ground came under a massive attack from the North Vietnamese Army. Even though his helicopter was under intense enemy fire, he and Captain Ed Freeman flew in and out of the landing zone bringing in supplies, water and ammunition and carrying out the wounded. He spent 14 hours in the air and provided the lifeline that allowed the American troops to survive the day while successfully rescuing some 70 wounded men.
Before the battle of Ia Drang was over, 305 Americans had been killed along with an estimated 2,000 North Vietnamese troops. The service members killed in the battle are remembered on Panel 3E of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The story of the battle is recounted in the best-selling book by Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore (Ret.) and Joseph L. Galloway "We Were Soldiers Once…. And Young" and the 2002 movie "We Were Soldiers."
"Veterans Day is a day to celebrate the legacy of service in this country and honor the sacrifices that our service members and their families have made," said Jim Knotts, president and CEO of VVMF. "This year marks an important anniversary of the start of the first major land battle of the Vietnam War and many Ia Drang veterans are expected at our ceremony at The Wall. This is a chance for VVMF, and for all Americans, to honor these veterans and say 'thank you for your service and welcome home.'"
The master of ceremonies for the Veterans Day ceremony will be Vietnam veteran Harry G. Robinson III, FAIA AICP and VVMF Board Member. The pledge of allegiance will be led by Lisa Brannon, a Gold Star daughter whose father was killed in the battle of Ia Drang. Gay Vietzke, superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks, will speak on behalf of NPS.
The 2015 Veterans Day Ceremony at The Wall is generously sponsored by the Xerox Foundation.
About 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.
VVMF is in the fundraising stages to build the Education Center at The Wall. The Center will be an interactive learning facility on the National Mall where our military heroes' stories and sacrifice will never be forgotten. The Education Center will feature the faces and stories of the more than 58,000 men and women on The Wall and honor America's Legacy of Service, including those serving in our nation's armed forces today. Time Warner is the Lead Gift Benefactor in the campaign to build the Education Center at The Wall. To learn more about VVMF and the Education Center at The Wall, visit www.vvmf.org or call 866-990-WALL.
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SOURCE Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund