WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) is commemorating the 35th anniversary of The Wall in 2017 and an esteemed group of Americans, led by The Honorable Chuck Hagel, 24th Secretary of Defense and Vietnam veteran, have come together to form the 35th Anniversary of The Wall committee to help commemorate this milestone. VVMF will host a series of events in Washington, D.C. in the week leading up to Veterans Day in November to honor and remember the service and sacrifice of those who served in Vietnam and their families.
"The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the perfect tribute and a fitting reminder of that divisive war and its enormous human cost to our country," said American entrepreneur, philanthropist and Vietnam veteran Bob Parsons. "Many of us who served in Vietnam and made it back received either a rude or no reception. Be that as it may, our 58,000 plus brothers and sisters whose names are inscribed on The Wall, are memorialized here, always ready and waiting to whisper to us in a solemn and perfect way 'Welcome Home!'"
"I am so honored to be back to commemorate the 35th Anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial," said Ann-Margret, award-winning actress and entertainer. "In 1966 & 1968 I went to Vietnam to entertain our troops and I can never put into words what those experiences were like. I will never forget the courage, the strength, the heroism of those brave men & women. May we never forget the debt that we owe to those courageous & honorable people of our military that allow the rest of us to be free in this county that we love."
"As a Vietnam veteran, it's important to me that we never forget those who served and especially those who sacrificed everything and didn't make it home. This committee has come together to commemorate this 35th anniversary milestone and to honor the more than 58,000 service members on The Wall and all our nation's Vietnam veterans," said Chuck Hagel, 24th Secretary of Defense and Chairman, 35th Anniversary of The Wall Honorary Committee.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial began with a promise to never forget the names of the more than 58,000 service members who sacrificed all in Vietnam and to honor all those who served in the Vietnam War. It has become one of the most-visited memorials in America with nearly 5.6 million visitors each year. The Wall was dedicated in November 1982 and gave Vietnam veterans a tangible symbol of recognition from the American people for their service.
"As we commemorate the 35th anniversary of The Wall, we're asking all Americans to 'keep the promise' that was made 35 years ago to never forget the service and sacrifice of our Vietnam veterans," said Jim Knotts, president and CEO of VVMF, the nonprofit organization that founded the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. "The Vietnam War on PBS has brought new attention to the Vietnam War, The Wall and our Vietnam veterans and we hope that all Americans will join us as we honor all those who served in Vietnam."
The 35th anniversary of The Wall committee includes:
Chair – The Honorable Chuck Hagel, 24th U.S. Secretary of Defense *
Government & Military Leaders
The Honorable Colin Powell, 65th U.S. Secretary of State *
The Honorable Tom Ridge, 1st U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security *
The Honorable Eric Shinseki, 7th U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs *
The Honorable Richard Armitage, 13th US Deputy Secretary of State *
The Honorable Max Cleland, Former U.S. Senator (D-Ga) *
The Honorable Bob Kerrey, Former U.S. Senator (D- Ne) and 35th Governor of Nebraska *
The Honorable Chuck Robb, Former U.S. Senator (D-Va) and 64th Governor of Virginia *
General Peter Pace, 16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff *
General Richard Myers, 15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff *
General George W. Casey, Jr., 36th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army
General Barry McCaffrey, Former Director of the White House National Drug Control Policy *
Business and Civic Leaders
Alan Buckelew, Chief Information Officer, Carnival Corporation *^
Henry Cisneros, Principal, Siebert, Cisneros, Shank & Co., LLC
Edward B. Cody, Chairman, Board of Directors, PenFed Credit Union *
Tom Hagel, Professor Emeritus, University of Dayton School of Law *
Red McCombs, Founder, Red McCombs Automotive Group
Bill Murdy, Civilian Aide to the Sec. of the Army and Chairman, Thayer Hotel Group *^
Bob Parsons, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and Founder and CEO of YAM Worldwide *
Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President and CEO, FedEx Corporation *
Ken Stinson, Chairman Emeritus, Kiewit, Inc. *
Ann-Margret, Award-winning Actress/Entertainer
Jimmy Buffett, Entertainer/Humanitarian
Gary Sinise, Actor/Humanitarian
* Vietnam War Veteran
^ VVMF Board Member
The 35th anniversary of The Wall will be commemorated at several events this November.
- November 7 – 10, 2017 – The Reading of the Names
- November 10, 2017 – A reception honoring Maya Lin, the designer of The Wall
- November 11, 2017 – A breakfast with Lynn Novick, co-director of The Vietnam War
- November 11, 2017 –Veterans Day observance at The Wall
The Reading of the Names is a special event that has only taken place five other times in The Wall's history. For 65 hours over a four-day period leading up to Veterans Day, volunteers will read the names of each of the more than 58,000 service members listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
VVMF will honor Maya Lin, the designer of The Wall, at a special reception on Friday, November 10th from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at The Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. More information can be found and tickets can be ordered at www.vvmf.org/maya.
VVMF will host a breakfast with Lynn Novick at The Hamilton in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, November 11 at 9:30 a.m. More information can be found and tickets can be ordered at www.vvmf.org/novick.
The annual Veterans Day Observance at The Wall will be held at 1:00 p.m. on November 11th. Chuck Hagel will deliver the keynote address and Maya Lin will provide special remarks. Guests can register for individual or group seating at : www.vvmf.org/2017-veterans-day-RSVP.
To learn more about all of these events, please visit: www.thewall35.org/events
VVMF couldn't hold these commemorative events without its generous sponsors. Sponsors for the 35th Anniversary of The Wall include: Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Alan Buckelew, William F. Murdy, The Land of The Free Foundation, PenFed Credit Union, USAA, and Wells Fargo.
To learn more about the 35th anniversary and how to 'keep the promise,' visit www.vvmf.org to find ways to get involved and honor Vietnam veterans including: visiting The Wall in Washington, D.C. or VVMF's mobile replica, The Wall That Heals; posting a photo or remembrance to VVMF's Wall of Faces; or nominating a Vietnam veteran who returned but later died of service-connected illness for the In Memory program.
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 www.vvmf.org or call 202-393-0090.
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SOURCE Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund