Vietnam Veterans Memorial Ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. on May 31

Washington, D.C. - Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael G. "Mike" Mullen, USN, will remember the men and women who have fallen in service to their country during the annual Memorial Day Observance at The Wall on Monday, May 31, at 1 p.m., said Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which hosts the ceremony.

Adm. Mullen, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, began his career in 1968 aboard the destroyer U.S.S. Collett, which participated in combat operations off the coast of Vietnam. In his over 40-year career in the Navy, he has served aboard six other warships, three as commanding officer. As an admiral, he commanded the U.S.S. George Washington Carrier Strike Group and the U.S. Second Fleet.

"Throughout his distinguished career, Adm. Mullen has commanded and served with many of the service members we have lost in America's modern conflicts since Vietnam," Scruggs noted. "We are honored to have him reflecting on those people he knew and respected during the Memorial Day ceremony at The Wall."

He will be introduced by Gen. Barry McCaffrey, USA (Ret.), whose career in the United States Army spanned 32 years. McCaffrey retired as a four-star general, and was at the time the most highly decorated serving general, having been awarded three Purple Hearts for wounds received in his four combat tours, as well as two Distinguished Service Crosses, the nation's second-highest award for valor. He also was twice awarded the Silver Star for valor. Like Mullen, McCaffrey is a Vietnam veteran.

Lt. Col. Mary T. Carlisle, USAF, will also be a featured speaker at the Memorial Day ceremony. Lt. Col. Carlisle is the chief nurse and chief of education and training, 579th Medical Group, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C. She will be introduced by Diane Carlson Evans, founder and president of the Vietnam Women's Memorial Foundation.

Music will be provided before and during the ceremony by Brianna Kahane, an 8-year-old violin prodigy who will play a variety of selections before the ceremony and "America the Beautiful" during the ceremony.

The names of six servicemen that were added to The Wall in early May will be read aloud for the first time by their family members on Memorial Day. They include:

  • Lance Cpl. John E. Granville, USMC, Los Angeles, Calif., Panel 56W, Line 34
  • Lance Cpl. Clayton K. Hough Jr., USMC, Holyoke, Mass., Panel 8W, Line 3
  • Cpt. Edward F. Miles, USA, Manhasset, N.Y., Panel 26W, Line 55
  • Sgt. Michael J. Morehouse, USA, Covington, Ky., Panel 26W, Line 1
  • Lt. Col. William L. Taylor, USA, Tampa, Fla., Panel 7W, Line 81
  • Cpl. Ronald M. Vivona, USMC, Suffolk, N.Y., Panel 50E, Line 36

In addition to the featured speakers and family members, these individuals will also take part in the ceremony: Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, will be the master of ceremonies. John Piltzecker, superintendent, National Mall and Memorial Parks, National Park Service, will offer remarks. Thomas Tradewell, commander-in-chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the USA, will lead participants in the pledge of allegiance. And Lt. Col. James D. Gray, chaplain in the Mobilized U.S. Army Reserve, will provide the invocation.

The annual Memorial Day ceremony is hosted yearly by the Memorial Fund and the National Park Service to pay tribute to members of America's armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam and in all conflicts. The event is free and open to the public.

Sponsors include the Clark Charitable Foundation and the Washington Marriott. Filming and Web cast are being provided by TV Worldwide.

Established in 1979, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is the nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.  Since then, the Memorial Fund has evolved into an international nongovernmental organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of The Wall, promoting healing and educating about the impact of the Vietnam War. Its initiatives include educational programs for students and educators, a traveling Wall replica that honors our nation's veterans and a humanitarian and mine-action program in Vietnam. The Memorial Fund is also building the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center, an underground educational facility, near The Wall.