Veterans Day 2010 at The Wall

For Immediate Release
November 4, 2010
Contact: Lisa Gough
(202) 393-0090, ext. 109

Ceremony Will Begin at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11
Washington, D.C. – Thousands are expected to gather at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Thursday, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m. for the annual Veterans Day Observance at The Wall, 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, we honor all who served—those who made the ultimate sacrifice, and those who came home from war to build a life and contribute to the growth and prosperity of our country,” said Scruggs. “The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was built to honor all who served in Vietnam. It is fitting that we pause here on this special day of tribute to honor those who have served in all of America’s wars.”

The keynote speaker for the Veterans Day ceremony will be Michael E. Heisley, chairman of Heico Holding Inc. and the Heico Companies. He is also involved with the Heisley Family Foundation.  Heisley grew up in Alexandria, Va., and was close friends with Rocky Versace, who was taken prisoner of war in Vietnam and later killed in captivity. Versace was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courage in captivity. Heisley has been devoted to remembering and honoring his friend, to whom he will dedicate his Veterans Day remarks.

Peter M. Holt, CEO of HOLT CAT, president/CEO of the San Antonio Spurs and a member of the leadership team for the campaign to build the Education Center at The Wall, will introduce Heisley. A Vietnam veteran, Holt served two years in the U.S. Army, including one tour in Vietnam. He was awarded the Silver Star, three Bronze Stars for Valor and the Purple Heart.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will offer opening remarks on behalf of the National Park Service.

Also speaking at the ceremony will be Air Vice Marshal Kym Osley, head of the Australian Defence Staff (Washington) and Australian Defence Attache at the Australian Embassy.

Osley will be introduced by Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, USA (Ret.).  McCaffrey is the president of BR McCaffrey Associates, LLC, and serves as the chairman of the Advisory Committee for the Education Center at The Wall.

Also providing remarks on Veterans Day will be Lt. Col. Connie K. Schultz, USA (Ret.), RN, MN, a nurse surveyor with The Joint Commission.

Soloist Kera O’Bryon will sing “America the Beautiful,” and Chris Jackson will play “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.

Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Memorial Fund, will serve as host for the ceremony. Diane Carlson Evans, president of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation, will also offer remarks.

Nov. 14-18 is the 45th anniversary of the Battle of Ia Drang, the first major battle of the Vietnam War. To mark the occasion, Edward Times, a veteran of that battle, will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Veterans Day Ceremony at The Wall will be webcast live and available for viewing on The ceremony will also be broadcast via satellite.

Sponsors for the ceremony include Clark Charitable Foundation, Xerox Corporation, the Washington Marriott, Base Technologies and TV Worldwide.

Established in 1979, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., promoting healing and educating about the impact of the Vietnam War.  Authorized by Congress, its most recent initiative is building The Education Center at The Wall, an underground facility near the Memorial that will help visitors discover the stories of those named on The Wall and celebrate the values embodied by all service members who served in all of America’s wars. Other Memorial Fund initiatives include educational programs for students and teachers, a traveling Wall replica that honors our nation’s veterans and a humanitarian and mine-action program in Vietnam.