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Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

Veterans Day At The Wall

06 November 2009


Thousands are expected to gather at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m. for the annual Veterans Day Observance at The Wall.

“It is vital that we never forget the dedicated service and deep sacrifices that the members of our armed forces make for this country every day,” said Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the group that hosts the annual ceremony with the National Park Service. “On Veterans Day, it is fitting to pause before a monument to those who fell in Vietnam while we honor and remember all who serve.”

Fittingly, there will be active duty and retired service members taking part in the ceremony, representing several of our nation’s conflicts. The pledge of allegiance will be led by a member of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), representing those who have served and continue to serve in our country’s most recent war.

Among the featured speakers will be Mark H. Ayers, president of the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO. Ayers served as a naval aviator during the Vietnam War. In his remarks, he will remember those he served with and those who did not return home.

Peter M. Holt, owner of the San Antonio Spurs and chairman of the campaign to build the Education Center at The Wall, will introduce Ayers. Holt is also a Vietnam veteran.

Another speaker will be James Wright, president emeritus and the Eleazar Wheelock Professor of History at Dartmouth College. A former member of the U.S. Marine Corps himself, Wright has been visiting U.S. military medical facilities in Washington, D.C., since 2005, encouraging injured service members to continue their education. He subsequently led the creation and funding of an educational counseling program for wounded U.S. veterans, “Severely Injured Military Veterans: Fulfilling their Dreams,” that is now being offered through the American Council on Education (ACE).

Wright will be introduced by Walt Sides, president of Rolling Thunder.

Also providing remarks on Veterans Day will be Lt. Col. Sharon L. Stanley-Alden. Lt. Col. Stanley-Alden is an active duty member of the U.S. Army working as the senior nurse case manager, Warrior Transition Battalion – Europe.

Music will be provided by Dr. Sam Bierstock and John Melnick, who are part of “Dr. Sam and the Managed Care Blues Band.” Bierstock, an eye doctor and professional musician, has written a song paying tribute to veterans of WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

In addition, Chris Jackson will play the bagpipes.

Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Memorial Fund, will serve as host for the ceremony. John Piltzecker, superintendent, National Mall and Memorial Parks, National Park Service, and Diane Carlson Evans, president of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation, will also offer remarks.
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