As the sun broke through the clouds and turned trees brilliant in autumn colors, people from around the nation gathered for the Veterans Day Observance at the Wall as the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation’s (VWMF) 1993 Dedication theme song “Dances with Wolves” resounded from the speakers.
Co-sponsored by the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and the National Park Service, the observance included entertainment by Jan Daley, former USO entertainer for the Bob Hope Tour in Vietnam, and Kera O’Bryon, an Emmy nominated actress, singer and voice talent who donated her time once again to perform during the VWMF’s Anniversary activities.
With Diane Carlson Evans as the Master of Ceremonies, the observance began with opening remarks from Jan C. Scruggs, a stunning presentation of colors by the Joint Forces Color Guard Military District of Washington, and the Pledge of Allegiance by Robbin Owen of the National Park Service.
Diane introduced Chaplain Linda Pugsley, USAF Vietnam veteran, to give the invocation. Robert A. Vogel, Superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, welcomed the visitors to the National Mall. Featured speaker Colonel Margarethe “Grethe” Cammermeyer, USA (Ret.), Vietnam veteran of the Army Nurse Corps, shared memories of courage, sacrifice and triumph of the human spirit over challenging circumstances of an unpopular war.
General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) saluted the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation’s efforts with his remarks of gratitude to the nation’s women veterans. Chris Jackson concluded the ceremony with “Amazing Grace” on the Bagpipes. A Military District of Washington trumpeter ended the 2013 Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial with Taps.
Perhaps the most poignant moment during the ceremony was when Diane asked the military and civilian women veterans to stand, or wave their arms, and be recognized. The crowd thundered their applause for these women. On that special Veterans Day, we indeed saluted the patriotic women who served before us, with us during the Vietnam era, and those currently serving our nation. We are indebted and so very grateful to the many volunteers, participants and sponsors who helped to make the 20th Anniversary Commemoration unforgettable.