Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

News Release: Christmas Tree Ceremony At The Wall

15 December 2011

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund will honor veterans and active-duty military personnel during its 15th Annual Christmas Tree Ceremony at The Wall, planned for 10 a.m. on Monday, December 19, 2011.

During the ceremony, representatives of the VVMF will place a Christmas tree at the apex of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Volunteers will decorate the tree with holiday greeting cards sent to the VVMF by Americans of all ages. The tree will also be adorned with cards and ornaments hand-made by schoolchildren from around the country.

VVMF President Jan Scruggs will serve as master of ceremonies for the event. The featured speakers will be Walt Sides, John Weber and Seth Lynn.

Walt Sides was one of the "founding fathers" of Rolling Thunder, an organization dedicated to prisoner of war and missing in action issues and the annual Memorial Day "Demonstration Run", which has become the world's largest single-day motorcycle event.

John Weber is a partner in Baker Hostetler’s Washington, D.C., office and is the head of the firm’s Intellectual Property, Technology and Media Group. He served in the U.S. Army infantry in Vietnam from 1968 to 1970 and was awarded the Purple Heart and Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

Prior to founding the Veterans Campaign, Seth Lynn served as an Amphibious Assault Vehicle Officer in the Marine Corps. While on active duty, Lynn deployed to Kuwait, Iraq, and Japan, and also participated in the Indonesian tsunami relief effort.

As part of this year’s ceremony, VVMF is proud to join in the cause of Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends over 100,000 care packages annually to service-members in hostile regions around the world. The packages are filled with food, hygiene products, and entertainment items. VVMF staff sorted nearly fifty packages filled with snacks and personal care products to be sent overseas to soldiers who will be away from their families this holiday season.

"The Wall is a sacred place, and one of so few where visitors are so directly exposed to the most noble American values of duty, honor, courage and sacrifice," says Jan Scruggs. "This ceremony, now in its 15th year, has become a cherished part of the holidays, and we are proud to join Operation Gratitude in showing appreciation to our service men and women who are making tremendous sacrifices in the name of freedom."

After the ceremony, the tree and many boxes of cards and ornaments will be left at The Wall, so that visitors can read the messages and add decorations when they visit throughout the holidays.

Hand-made cards and ornaments have been contributed by these schools and Scout troops:

Pack #120 - Irvington, NY, Cub Scout Troop
Mrs. Whitehead’s 4th Grade Class – Carlisle Elementary School, Boaz, AL
Rosewood Christian Elementary School, Castro Valley, CA
Loggers Run Middle School, Boca Raton, FL
Ms. Gahr's 7th and 8th Graders from Berryhill School, Charlotte, NC
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