Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta will host a ceremony May 28, 2012, at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to thank and honor America’s Vietnam Veterans on behalf of a grateful nation.
This ceremony will serve as a public kickoff of efforts to partner with communities across the United States.
Invited guests include thousands of Vietnam veterans, their loved ones, Gold Star families and leadership from the military services, cabinet and Congress. There will be a limited viewing area open to the general public.
The Memorial Day ceremony marks the beginning of the national commemoration of the Vietnam War’s 50th anniversary program and is a joint effort between the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the National Park Service and the Department of Defense. The event will include remarks, a moment of silence, music and ceremonial elementsthat will begin at 1 p.m., EDT. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, Secretary of Defense and Senator Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam beteran, and other dignitaries are scheduled to speak.
The DOD Vietnam 50th Anniversary Commemoration Program will partner with other federal agencies, veterans groups, state, local government and non-government organizations to:
- Thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War, including personnel who were held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action, for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans.
- Highlight the service of the armed forces during the Vietnam War and the contributions of federal agencies and governmental and non-governmental organizations that served with, or in support of, the armed forces.
- Pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by the people of the United States during the Vietnam War.
- Highlight the advances in technology, science, and medicine related to the military research conducted during the Vietnam War.
- Recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by the allies of the United States during the Vietnam War.
For more information on the Vietnam War Commemoration, call 877-387-9951 or visit the official website at http://www.vietnamwar50th.com.