2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, DC. The annual star-studded event features musical and dramatic performances, appearances from America’s military leaders, and salutes to the fallen and their surviving Gold Star Families.
This year, one story will spotlight a friendship that has stretched from the battlefields of SE Asia to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Actors Dennis Haysbert and Joe Mantegna will tell the story of Army veterans Pete Peterson and Brad Kennedy who met in 1965 while serving in the 11th Cavalry Division and now reunite at ‘the Wall’ to remember their friends who didn’t return from the Vietnam War.
The concert will also salute D-Day veterans on the 75th anniversary of that heroic assault, and a Gold Star Wife and Daughter whose life changed with a ‘knock on the door’ ten years ago.
On May 27, two Gold Star Daughters will deliver keynote addresses as part of the annual Memorial Day commemoration at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Brigadier General Sharon Bannister (a medical doctor in the USAF), and her sister Rebecca Rusch (who is an accomplished athlete and adventurer) will be the featured speakers at the 1 pm ceremony on Memorial Day.
Their father, Capt. Stephen Rusch (USAF), was Missing in Action from March 1972 when his F4 Phantom was lost, until 2007 when his remains were recovered and buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
They join NFL Hall of Fame member Derrick Thomas and Patty Crawford Klunder as Gold Star ‘sons and daughters’ who have delivered Memorial Day remarks during the 37-year history of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Click this link to learn more about Brig. Gen. Bannister and her sister Rebecca, and other Memorial Day information from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial:
On June 4, three SDIT families will join a limited number of other Gold Star families — from WWII through the most recent conflicts to honor, thank and celebrate those who have survived the loss of a loved one in service to our nation.
This year, the Terry, Goss and Cordero families will represent Vietnam War casualties from the Army, Navy and Air Force.
This year’s delegation consists of seven Gold Star ‘sons and daughters’; three Gold Star Wives (the mothers of the ‘sons and daughters’), and one Gold Star brother.
Since 2012, nearly 70 SDIT members have had the honor of being hosted at the White House by the President of the United States.
It is hoped that this event generates an invitation for SDIT next year and beyond.
SDIT and the Vietnam War Commemoration
In the coming months, SDIT will work with the Vietnam War Commemoration to provide a weekend visit(s) to the Vietnam War exhibit recently opened in the Pentagon.
The visit will be limited to 20-30 people and does involve walking through the Pentagon to the 100-yard long exhibit.
Interested SDIT members can send their names and contact information to SDITCommemoration@gmail.com
“To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, The Department of Defense and The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration have created a permanent exhibit as a way to thank and honor the service and sacrifice of Vietnam veterans and their families. This award-winning exhibit tells the story of the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War through a timeline of events, artifacts, historic photographs, and video footage.”
Preserve Your Loved One’s Legacy with the Library of Congress
The Veterans History Project (VHP) is one of the Library of Congress’ most popular projects and is considered the largest oral history project in the country. Its congressional mandate is to collect, preserve and make accessible the personal accounts of U.S. veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of their selfless service.
Anyone can gather and donate collections of items that comprise the first-person narrative of a loved one who served, such as 10 or more original photographs, letters and/or documents; and/or 20 or more pages of memories, journals and diaries. These can be from deceased (by any cause) or even living veterans.
With the passage of Public Law 114-246, the Gold Star Family Voices Act, VHP is additionally seeking the video and audio recordings (with a length of at least 30 minutes) of biographical histories by immediate family members (parent, spouse, sibling, or child over the age of 18) of members of the Armed Forces who became missing in action or who died of injuries as a result of their service during wartime service.
Contact Ms. Kerry Ward with Veterans History Project at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
More than 20,000 American children lost their dads in Vietnam.
They Were Our Fathers shares their stories, as told by members of Sons and Daughters in Touch — a group formed in 1990 to locate, unite and support Gold Star children who lost their fathers in service during the Vietnam War. They gather in the nation’s capital on Father’s Day to honor their fathers, reflect on their common grief and support one another, like no one else can.”
Use the following link to locate a channel in your area:
After his latest brush with death, the man behind the Vietnam Wall is back to tending it.
Jan C. Scruggs was on life support in a hospital in suburban Maryland, attached to a feeding tube and a breathing machine. He had been in a medically induced coma for weeks with a deadly heart infection. People were stopping to say goodbye.
His wife, Becky, was preparing for life as the widow of the creator of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and had contacted a friend about burial in Arlington National Cemetery.
After one brush with death in Vietnam and three more from his heart ailment, it looked, late last year, like Scruggs might soon meet those departed comrades whose names are inscribed on his Wall.
But on a chilly Saturday morning last month, a thin, gray-haired man in a windbreaker, slacks and sneakers picked up a brush, splashed a section of the Wall with soapy water and started scrubbing. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
Once again, SDIT is requesting its supporters consider making a symbolic contribution of $10.00 or $35.00 (or more) to assist the organization. As an all-volunteer non-profit, all donations are used to cover the expenses of executing SDIT’s mission.
Thank you for helping SDIT commemorate this 35th anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
To locate, unite and provide support to the Gold Star 'sons and daughters' and other family members of those who died or remain missing as a result of the Vietnam War; to produce a periodic e-newsletter providing important information to all SDIT stakeholders; to promote healing via networking and special projects, to regularly address other Gold Star family organizations, high schools and college classes in hopes of providing education on the historical and emotional legacy of war.