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American Vietnam War Heroes to be Honored

12 April 2009


One hundred and twenty three American heroes from the Vietnam War era will be honored posthumously on April 20 during the annual In Memory Day Ceremony.

In Memory Day was created to pay tribute to the men and women who died prematurely from noncombat injuries and emotional suffering caused directly by the Vietnam War, but who are not eligible to have their names inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

The 11th annual In Memory Day Ceremony will be held on Monday, April 20, 2009, at 10 a.m. at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Nearly 1,000 family members, friends and fellow veterans will be visiting the nation’s capital to participate in this year’s event, sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

"In Memory Day allows The Wall to do what it does best: provide a healing environment for family members and friends," said Jan C. Scruggs founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. "It also allows all of us to pay tribute to these brave Americans who served and sacrificed for their country."

Among the speakers at this year’s ceremony will be Richard Schneider, executive director for government affairs for the Non Commissioned Officers Association of the USA, the sponsor of the event. Navy veteran Chuck Price of Austin, Colo., will perform "The Unsung Heroes," a song about honoring and remembering Vietnam veterans.

In Memory Day
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial contains the names of 58,260 men and women who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces in the Vietnam War. The Memorial’s black granite walls have always stood to remember all of the nearly 3.5 million who participated in the divisive and controversial conflict.

“The Department of Defense developed specific parameters that allow only the names of service members who died of wounds suffered in combat zones to be added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial,” Scruggs said. “The In Memory program recognizes those men and women who have died prematurely as a result of the Vietnam War, but who do not meet the criteria. Many of their deaths are a result of Agent Orange exposure and emotional wounds that never healed.”

During the ceremony, family members read aloud their loved ones’ names in chronological order by date of death. Following the ceremony, participants lay tributes at the base of The Wall corresponding to the honorees’ dates of service in Vietnam, so that these Vietnam veterans come to rest near those comrades with whom they served. With the addition of this year’s honorees, over 1,800 individuals will be honored in the In Memory Honor Roll.

Patriots Day
The annual In Memory ceremony is held on the third Monday of April. That date was chosen specifically to coincide with Patriots Day, which commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord at the start of the Revolutionary War—the first time Americans fought for freedom and democracy.
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