On Monday, May 28, 2012, Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns will lay a wreath at the Vietnam War Commemoration National Announcement and Proclamation Ceremony at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC.
Congress tasked the Department of Defense to lead the United States in commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta will host this ceremony to thank and honor America’s Vietnam Veterans on behalf of a grateful nation. President Obama will be the keynote speaker at the event which will include 2,500 Vietnam Veterans, their loved ones, current and former State officials who served at the Embassy, Gold Star families and leadership from the military services, Cabinet and Congress. In addition to President Obama, the ceremony will feature remarks by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Senator Chuck Hagel; a moment of silence; music; and ceremonial elements. Other government officials laying wreaths will include Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.
Actor Tom Selleck will serve as Master of Ceremonies. Ms. Cindy Coleman, wife of the late Foreign Service Officer Joseph Fandino, who served at the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam from 1971-1972 and passed away at Bien Hoa Air Force Base in 1972, will lay a wreath with Deputy Secretary Burns.