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Women’s Vietnam sacrifices highlighted

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The District will play host to a variety of Veterans Day memorial celebrations, with emphasis this year on the sacrifices made by women during the Vietnam War.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial will take its traditional place as the centerpiece for Veterans Day activities on the Mall. A color-guard marching ceremony from the Lincoln Memorial to the Vietnam Women's Memorial will begin at 11 a.m., followed by the annual Veterans Day observance, which starts at 1 p.m.

"Women carried the scars of the Vietnam War just as the men did," said Diane Carlson Evans, founder of the Vietnam Women's Memorial Foundation, who will deliver the keynote address at the observance. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the construction of the women's memorial.

"Before the women's memorial was built, the public did not recognize the service of women, and now we are able to recognize the fact that women were there, too," Miss Evans said. In addition to the observance, there will be storytelling throughout the day by women and men who served in Vietnam.

Other notable Veterans Day events include a Navy-sponsored throwback to the sights and sounds of the "greatest generation."

The U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation will host a special "World War II Radio Show" live concert at 2:30 p.m. in the Navy Memorial Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest. The show will be an interactive re-creation of the Andrews Sisters - a popular 1940s music trio and feature "Maxine and Laverne," accompanied at the keyboard by their sister, "Patty."

The group will perform renditions of old radio hits such as "I'll Be Seeing You," and "You're a Grand Old Flag." There also will be time for audience requests.

"We want people to come out and relive that era, to understand why those songs were written and appreciate why we call that generation the greatest generation," said Rear Adm. Richard Buchanan, the memorial foundation's president and chief executive officer.

Arlington National Cemetery will hold its customary wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns at 11 a.m. A ceremony in the Memorial Amphitheater, adjacent to the tomb, will follow immediately.

James B. Peake, secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, will deliver the keynote address. The president or the vice president traditionally also speaks at the ceremony.

Seats are free and are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

At George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, there will be a community concert by the Mount Vernon chapter of the Harmony Heritage Singers, an all-veteran barbershop chorus. The event will be in the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Auditorium.

In Maryland, an event honoring military veterans from wars past and present will be held in Gaithersburg. Rear Adm. Michael Browne, a submarine commander, will speak at 11 a.m. at the City Hall Concert Pavilion. The local VFW will collect donations for a unit stationed in Afghanistan.

For information on events related to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, visit www.thevirtualwall.org.