VVMF Newsletter: VVMF Plans Christmas Tree Ceremony for Dec. 20

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Below find important information about the VVMF’s events and programs.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s News
Christmas Tree Ceremony at The Wall Set for Dec. 20
VVMF will hold its annual Christmas Tree Ceremony at The Wall on Monday, Dec. 20, beginning at 10 a.m. After brief remarks by VVMF President Jan Scruggs and other dignitaries, volunteers will place a Christmas tree at the apex of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and decorate it with cards and ornaments hand made by schoolchildren throughout the country. 

This year, VVMF received approximately 15,000 cards, which were sorted by volunteers at the Armed Forces Retirement Home. Some of the messages were directed at those who served in Vietnam, and these will be used during the Christmas tree ceremony on Dec. 20. Others were written for currently deployed troops, and these are being given to Operation Gratitude for distribution overseas in holiday packages. Some were written for wounded service members, and these are being given to Fisher House to be distributed to hospitalized veterans. Through its direct mail solicitation for these messages, VVMF is helping honor those who served in Vietnam as well as provide holiday cheer to those currently serving.

The Christmas Tree Ceremony is free and open to the public. If you can’t join us on Dec. 20, cards will be left at the base of the tree for visitors to decorate it with throughout the holiday season.

 

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Tales from the Road
Our journey to Sebring, Fla., began with an escort into town made up of approximately 425 riders from motorcycle organizations all over the state. Our escort stretched for two and a half miles and passed many groups of welcoming citizens along the way. 

VFW Post 4300, led by Commander John Vawter Sr., did an excellent job of organizing ceremonies and activities around our visit. One unforgettable speaker was Medal of Honor recipient Col. Donald E. Ballard, USN (Ret.). A hospital corpsman second class with the Navy, Company M, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, Ballard was attending to injured comrades when they were ambushed by the North Vietnamese. An enemy soldier hurled a grenade at Ballard and his fellow service members and then commenced firing on the group. Ballard threw himself on the grenade to protect the others. When it did not detonate, he calmly arose from his dangerous position and returned the grenade to the enemy — where it did detonate — and continued treating the wounded. During Saturday’s ceremony, Ballard spoke of the necessity for all of us to preserve our country’s freedom as tribute to the service members who have fought for that freedom.

As always, there was one visitor we will always remember. On Sunday, a man came to our Information Center with tears in his eyes asking for help in locating a name on The Wall. He was looking for his father’s name. He never knew his father and, because his mother did not talk about his father and his father’s family did not claim him, this man knew nothing about his parent. We found his father’s record on the Virtual Wall and were able to give him a picture along with some information. Our visitor was extremely grateful to learn about his dad, see a photo and get some history of his life. He was actually smiling when he walked away from the tent.

 

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White Oaks Elementary Supports the Education Center
The students and teachers at White Oaks Elementary School in Reston, Va., raised $664.52 for the Education Center at The Wall during a one-day fund drive that was part of the school’s “Bring a Vet to Breakfast” event on Veterans Day. 

Students decorated jars and posters to call attention to the project and collect money. The fifth grade class at the school was also studying the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which provided a special tie-in.

“We had such a tremendous response to our Veterans Day celebration,” reported Marion Fegley, a 5th grade special ed teacher at the school. “We had 110 military personnel attend our breakfast, which meant we had nearly 225 people in our school cafeteria. It was extremely meaningful and very, very emotional. Many people added bills to our jars around the school.”

The project got the kids excited as well. “It was great listening to a math student say in his class, ‘Wow, if every school in America did this, The Education Center could be built quickly!'” Fegley remembered. “It was a great day.”

The Burke Patch, a local community newspaper, covered the breakfast. Click here to see pictures and learn more.

 

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Build the Center Commemorative Coin Now Available
VVMF has just released a limited edition commemorative coin to raise funds for the Education Center at The Wall. 

The bronze coin is two inches in diameter and two ounces in weight. It shows the face of a service member on the front, to remind us all of the importance of showing the pictures and telling the stories of the more than 58,000 individuals whose names are on The Wall.

On the back is the Education Center logo and slogan, “Discover their stories. Honor their values.”

The coin will be sent for every donation of $100 or more that is made through our special website for a limited time, and 100 percent of every donation will be used for the Education Center. Click here to learn more.

 

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Weider History Group Offers Discounts to Friends of VVMF
VVMF supporters can now subscribe to a variety of military and history magazines at deeply discounted prices for a limited time, thanks to an ongoing partnership between VVMF and the Weider History Group, which publishes the magazines. 

The discounted titles include Vietnam, Armchair General, America’s Civil War and Civil War Times, which are being offered for the special price of $19.95 per year, and World War II, which is being offered for $21.95. In addition to the discounts for VVMF supporters, Weider History Group has also pledged to donate $2 from each subscription to VVMF. This special deal will be in effect for the next six months.

Each of these magazines assembles rich and informative essays, editorials and analyses that allow readers to enhance their understanding of these crucial times in our nation’s history.

To learn more about the titles being offered at a discount, click here to visit the special VVMF section of the Weider History Group website. When you check out, enter the promotion code “90vvmf” to get the special price for these magazines.

This is an excellent opportunity to learn about this great land and make a significant contribution to the VVMF.

 

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In the News
Replica of Vietnam Vets Wall Heads to Morgan City
Tri-Parish Times; Dec. 1, 2010 

Information on Vietnam Casualties Sought
Las Cruces Sun-News; Nov. 27, 2010

The Wall Under Fire
The Washington Post; Nov. 19, 2010

The Wall That Heals Travels to Grapevine for Veterans Day
Flower Mound Leader; Nov. 6, 2010

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) giving season ends in December. You still have time to help VVMF and our many programs with your donation. VVMF’s CFC number is 11070.

 

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