Vietnam Veterans Memorial Ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. on May 30

Washington, D.C. - Juan M. Garcia III, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs), will pay tribute to the men and women who have fallen in service to their country during the annual Memorial Day Observance at The Wall on Monday, May 30, at 1 p.m., said Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which co-hosts the ceremony with the National Park Service.

Garcia was a naval aviator who served in Patrol Squadron 47 out of NAS Barber's Point, Hawaii, and completed deployments to the Persian Gulf and Western Pacific. He also served overseas as flag aide to the deputy commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe in London, England, deploying as part of Operation Allied Force during hostilities in Kosovo.

"Assistant Secretary Garcia has served his country for many years, in the Navy, in the Texas legislature and now in the Navy Department," said Scruggs. "As a second-generation naval aviator, he and his family illustrate the multigenerational legacy of service that is the backbone of America's military."

He will be introduced by Ram Chavez, a retired educator and Vietnam veteran from Corpus Christi, Texas. Chavez served in Vietnam from 1967-68 as a medic, earning the Bronze Star with V and the Silver Star. He is active in veterans and civic affairs and is a key member of the grassroots campaign in Texas to build the Education Center at The Wall in Washington, D.C.

Barbara Lilly will also be a featured speaker at the Memorial Day ceremony. Lilly served with the American Red Cross as a recreation worker during the Vietnam War. Currently she supervises volunteers at the Denver VA Medical Center. She will be introduced by Diane Carlson Evans, founder and president of the Vietnam Women's Memorial Foundation. Carolyn Richards, Chief of Interpretation and Education, National Mall and Memorial Parks, will give a welcome on behalf of the National Park Service. Jan Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, will serve as master of ceremonies.

The national anthem will be performed by singer-songwriter Tenley Westbrook. Near the end of the ceremony, "Amazing Grace" will be played by bagpiper Chris Jackson.

The names of five 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:

  • Sgt. Henry L. Aderholt, USA, Birmingham, Ala., Panel 12W, Row 83
  • ETR2 Richard Lewis Daniels, USN, Washougal, Wash., Panel 4W, Row 108
  • BT3 Peter Otto Holcomb, USN, Grandy, Minn., Panel 15E, Row 60
  • SPC Charles J. Sabatier, USA, Galveston, Texas, Panel 40E, Line 72
  • SPC Charles Robert Vest, USA, Lynchburg, Ohio, Panel 24E, Line 30

The addition of these names will bring the total number of names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to 58,272.

The annual Memorial Day ceremony is hosted yearly by VVMF 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. VVMF will provide a live satellite uplink for media organizations wishing to broadcast the event.

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 is designed to add faces to all the names on The Wall and tell their stories.  Other Memorial Fund initiatives include educational programs for students and teachers, a traveling Wall replica that honors our nation's veterans and six events held each year at The Wall to honor and remember those we lost during the Vietnam War.